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Archive for June, 2009

Behind the Scenes with the Kincheloes

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

The Pounds Community is pleased to feature Lewis and Carol Kincheloe in our Signature Portrait Series. When we asked the Kincheloes to participate, they headed off to one of their favorite locations with an unusual prop in tow.  Even though their session seemed vexed by the weather and the cancellation of their photographer, they produced an outstanding image by virtue of their can-do attitude and their creative vision.  We asked them to tell us what happened during the shoot and how their portrait illustrates their signature style.  See our profile of the Kincheloes.  Then, read on for the Behind the Scenes details of their amazing portrait.

Pounds Community Profile:  Lewis and Carol Kincheloe of Positive Image Photography

Who was your Signature portrait taken by?
We were rained out on our original session day. We finally had a nice evening and decided to make it a self-portrait and just set the camera on self-timer.

How did you decide on that location?
We have so many interest ing locations in our area. This was the background we used for our son Travis’ graduation announcements last year.

What is distinctive about your style of photography and what makes this your Signature Portrait?
If I have a senior that comes in and doesn’t want to be here or seems nervous about being in front of the camera, I’ll have them sit in the barber chair.  I’ll spin them around and do a few shots and get them laughing. This usually loosens them up and lets them know we’re going to have fun during their session.

Did anything funny or interesting happen during this shoot ?
We only had about 15 minutes of daylight remaining for the shoot. We were unloading and setting up in the street as fast as we could.  Once we started, I had to run back and forth to grab the tripod when a car was coming. We h ad three or four cars that just kept doing a loop around the block wondering what the heck we were up to. I think we ended up with 11 shots to choose from.

How did you feel in front of the camera and did you learn anything that will help you when you are photographing other people?
After I chimped the first shot, I saw I was just standing there with no pose, no expression, and no energy.  It reminded me of why we are the professionals and the importance in placing people in the right spot, in the right light – and our job of helping to set the tone or mood for the image.

Chris Wunder on Basic Training to Capture an Expanding Market

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Are you looking for ways to diversify your studio?  School Photography could be the solution.  If you’ve never considered it before, you might want to think about it now.  According to Schools and Events expert Chris Wunder, the market is expanding and studio photographers are capturing more of it.  Chris will present the basic training you need to sell, shoot, and manage high-volume workflow at the School Photography Boot Camp co-sponsored by Pounds. We asked Chris to tell the Pounds Community how Wedding, Portrait, Sports, and Event photographers can benefit from building their businesses with Underclass School Photography.

Is it best to specialize in Schools, or can Wedding and Portrait photographers diversify their studios to capture this market successfully ?
Undergrad School Photography is the perfect addition to any studio’s marketing plan.  Most of the work is done on weekdays during the morning hours, so it doesn’t conflict with the busy time in regular studio schedules.  Plus, as many traditional studio market segments are seeing declines (in-studio portrait sessions, weddings, commercial work, etc) there’s a continuing and growing market for School Photography.  When times get tough, consumers look the best values they know, and a traditional favorite is School Photography.

Another good reason to enter the Underclass market is the revenue potential.  School photographers routinely take in $1500 per hour in revenues.  An average elementary school with 450 students can generate over $20,000 per year in sales for photographers who take advantage of all the opportunities there; Fall and Spring Portrait programs, Groups and Composites, Special Events and Yearbooks.

Wh at kind of skills do you need to manage the post-production in a high-volume market like School Photography?
School Photography has the most developed and efficient workflow systems in photography.  You don’t have to be a computer whiz to manage it. These specialized workflows make it easy to match images of hundreds of students with corresponding student data provided by the school.  This is done using your laptop computer tethered to your camera, CamLynx capture software (provided thru Pounds Labs) and a barcode reader installed on your laptop.  Then, using special cards preprinted beforehand with student data and barcodes, you can easily link the images and purchase at the camera.  It’s easier than it sounds. After some practice, you can prepare 500 student orders for the lab in only 1- 2 hours.  That’s much less than the time required to process a wedding for the lab.

Can the techniques presented in the Boot Camp be used to build business in other high-volume markets?
The techniques learned at the Boot Camp in becoming a School Photographer are essential building blocks in understanding high-speed, volume workflow for many types of Event Photography including Youth Sports Team and Individual (T&I) photography, photography in Daycares and Pre-Schools, Dances and Proms and almost any “volume” photographic opportunity.  Anytime you need to do a lot of photos at an event, and be able to quickly track who you photographed and what they bought; you’ll need and use these basic techniques.

How can sole proprietors and small studio owners compete against school photography mega-companies that operate on a national level ?
Competing against the “national” companies is easier than you think. Many schools are looking for a change.  They just don’t have many choices.  Many would consider a local studio that has learned the specialized photography needs of schools, has done specialized training, and has developed the workflows needed to handle 400 students in less than three hours.  The School Photo Boot Camp can provide the skills necessary to start your School Photography business and help you build long-term relationships with local schools.  It also helps to know the “secrets” of the competition and how you can out-service them.  You’ll learn all this at the Boot Camp as well.

What do school photographers need to look for when choosing a professional imaging lab to fulfill their orders?
School Photographers require a number of specialized lab products and services to be competitive with the “national” companies. Most pro labs do not provide these specialized services.  You need to find a lab that specializes in “volume” work for School and Sports Photographers and who has the unique products and processes to help you be successful.  Our company uses Pounds Photographic Labs because of their high quality and commitment to service. They offer all the specialized products we need to grow our School Photography business.

The Pounds Community team thanks Chris for sharing his expertise in School Photography with us.
For Boot Camp details and registration see Orlando: June 23-27 or Dallas: July 27-31.  Attend either Boot Camp and receive a Pounds savings certificate for studio samples of school products.  Sign up for the Dallas Boot Camp, and you’ll be invited to a special tour of Pounds Labs. We look forward to seeing you here!

Carrell Grigsby on Building a Background Library

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Have you ever wished that you could improve the weather on the day of a portrait session?  Or, make a bleak background match the beauty of a bride?  How would you like to know the secrets to changing  the look of locations?  Pounds Community member Carrell Grigsby will reveal her techniques for turning mediocre images into masterpieces at the TPPA Kerrville Summer Seminar.  Carrell gave us a sneak preview of her topic “Build that Background Library and Make it Work” so we could share it with you.  We thank Carrell for taking the time to answer our questions and send us her images.  To attend her  presentation, register for the Kerrville Summer Seminar.

What is a “background library?”
Images that can be used to enhance a scene or print. That might be as simple as blue sky with clouds to use when you have no pretty sky on the day of a portrait  to an Italian cathedral doorway to go behind a gorgeous bride.

What are the benefits of having a background library
Time and profit.  A beautiful scene that matches what the clients wanted to see can up the ante every time with very little work after the session.

How did you build your background library?
Years ago I started keeping all the test frames I took before the clients showed up for sessions.  A process evolved whereby I found that I often went back to those images to save time when combining images for the desired combination of subjects.

What skills do you need to create a background library, and to use it during post-production?
Any good photographer can capture a beautiful or dramatic scene.  Follow up with good cataloging has to happen or the image will not be available for use.  Photoshop skills are absolutely necessary.  This program would not be useful for a film photographer.  My goal is to minimize the amount of work in Photoshop, but some skill will be required.

What kinds of images can you create with a background library?
There is no limit except the maker’s creativity and imagination.  The concept of background
enhancement  can go from making a family portrait just a little more dramatic to creating a PPA Loan Print.

How are you planning to expand and use your library in the future?
I’ve already done the “next step” by using Virtual Backgrounds, a wonderful system, and a green screen. I have had the best success with any of these by careful blending of images creating a “reality” that is believable to clients and judges.