Category Archives: Blog

Senior Trends with Kevin Focht

Expert photographer Kevin Focht shares his insights on selling high school senior packages & delighting his clients by keeping up on current trends. Watch as Kevin talks about why he uses SharedInk books as part of his package, how he uses studio samples to upsell his clients, and how he keeps up with what’s cool to cater to his clients.

Many of Kevin’s ideas are also useful for weddings and family portrait sessions.

By watching the video you will learn how to:

  • communicate with today’s seniors
  • deal with the “I just want digital files” issue
  • use studio samples to upsell your clients
  • and more!
You can check out Kevin’s left turn seniors web site to see how he markets his senior business. For more great tips from Kevin, check out The Creative Orange.
As Kevin explains, you sell what you show. We always offer 33% off studio samples. Just contact us when placing your order.

 

Copyright Issues for Creatives

Today we’re happy to have a guest post from Portland area photographer Aaron Hockley. Today, Aaron shares some of his knowledge on copyright issues for photographers and creatives in general. See his information at the bottom of the post. -Eric


Copyright is an interesting topic for photographers… not only should photographers be aware of current copyright law, but the reality is that public perception and sentiment toward copyright is changing quickly. Odds are that five, ten, or twenty years from now we’ll see copyright laws that vary from the status quo, and photographers would be best served to entertain new ideas when it comes to intellectual property.

Current Copyright Law

image of colored lights and water

Disclaimer: I’m a photographer, not a lawyer, so don’t mistake this for legal advice from an attorney. This will be a very brief overview of current law. Like many laws, there are various nuances, loopholes, and exceptions.

Current US copyright law states that the creator of a work (such as a photograph) owns the copyright to that work from the moment that it’s created. In practical terms: photographers own their copyrights as soon as they press the shutter. The only exception is if the work is done in an employee relationship or as a “work for hire” – if you’re unsure about these topics you should contact a business attorney to help you work out contracts that keep you in a favorable position. You don’t have to register your copyright with the government in order to have protection, but doing so will put you in a much better situation if you end up filing a suit related to copyright infringement. For more information on registration, see Copyright.gov.

As a photographer and copyright owner, you get to control the use of your images. If a company wants to use your photograph in an advertisement, they must purchase the rights to do so (or they’ll be infringing on your copyright). If a parent wants to make prints of the senior portraits you made of her daughter, she needs to obtain that permission from you. As a photographer making albums, books, or multimedia materials, you’ll also need to respect the copyrights of others by ensuring that you’ve secured a license for the graphics or music that you use in your products.

Looking to the Future

As we look at copyright in the future, I suspect some things are going to change. There aren’t clear answers, but astute thinkers can ask some great questions and start to formulate responses. As pointed out in Everything is a Remix, many of our creative works (from Disney movies to Led Zeppelin songs to various found-on-Youtube amusements) are remixes of copyrighted work. Do we continue to try to prevent reuse and remixing, or do we embrace the notion of remix as a way of creating interesting derivative works?

The internet has made it easier than ever to publish various creations to a wide audience. Many folks understand that copyright somehow affects the use and copying of music, video, and photography, but many folks don’t understand that protection. Andy Baio has taken a look at the no copyright intended meme that’s pervasive on Yahoo – as of December 2011 we find nearly 500,000 works on YouTube that claim “no copyright intended” and over 600,000 that cite Fair Use as a disclaimer for infringement.

What happens when there’s a law on the books but widespread disregard for that law is occurring in ways which aren’t generally causing great societal harm? Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh offers his analogy:

This disconnect between the public’s view of copyright and fair use and what should and should not be prosecuted, versus the ‘copyright maximist’ view of the law, is our generation’s Prohibition.

There aren’t “right” or “wrong” answers to many of these questions, but as photographers who create and share the results of our creations, I’d argue that we ought to be aware of leading thoughts in the area such that we can adapt our businesses to result in continued success. The old model of “create once, copyright forever” seems to be dying… what will we find in its place?


Aaron Hockley

Aaron Hockley is a photographer based in Vancouver, Washington who writes and speaks about new media topics for photographers. Among other things, he creates abstract fine art photography.

Books for Photographers

“What the heck is the difference between a coffee table book, press printed book, or layflat book? There’s so much terminology tossed around the industry it’s hard to know what is what and what should be used when.”

If you’ve ever asked this question, you’re not the only one! There’s so much jargon and terminology to know in both the Photography and Print industries, so we thought we’d take a moment to help.

Coffee Table Book

This is a general term for any hard bound book with thin, flexible pages (like any normal book) that is intended to be on display in the home. It tends to be large, it is not designed to be portable like a novel. I generally think of these as being high quality press printed books.

Press Printed Book

press printed books

A press printed book is printed on a traditional offset printing press. These printing presses are large, expensive pieces of equipment that take time to set up for each print job. Set up costs can easily run into the thousands of dollars, so they only make sense for high volume jobs. In recent years digital offset presses have been developed and are now common. Digital presses allow each page to be unique, which was the enabling technology for the print-on-demand custom book industry.

Be aware that the press printed books you’ll get from companies like SharedInk and other companies that cater to professionals are a much different product than what is supplied by the high volume consumer books (Blurb, Costco, etc.). The printing, quality control, customer service, material options, and binding quality are all much better. It is really a different product.

Flush Mount Album

This is an album that evolved from the traditional matted album of the past. In a matted album each print is hand mounted to the hard page. With the advent of digital (ink jet and then offset press) printing, it became possible to design the album page or two page spread together on a computer. The pages are then printed and mounted to a thick, hard board. Some people like to use the “baby book” analogy.

Flush mount albums are more expensive to produce than coffee table books, since ink jet printing costs more than digital press printing, and mounting the prints to the boards is a slower and more labor intensive process.

Traditionally flush mount albums are printed on high quality ink jet paper, but with the improvement in digital press printing in recent years some companies are offering press printed flush mount albums.

Layflat Book

layflat pages

Layflat books are generally considered to be a press printed book where the pages have a hinge at the binding so that the image flows across the spread similar to a flush mount album.

As only a few paper suppliers offer layflat pages, hinged paper and layflat books are more expensive than traditional press books. Layflat books also require a greater attention to printing and binding process control and quality assurance, since there is a higher expectation that the left page aligns with the right page on a spread. Be aware that some companies do a much better job of this than others. The ability to use two page spreads and panoramic images is considered a great improvement in on-demand book printing.

Be aware.. some people use the term “layflat” when they are discussing the flat characteristics of a flush mount album.

What’s an album, and what’s a book?

This is very subjective, but if you need a one sentence explanation then you can say “Albums are photographic quality ink jet prints mounted on thick pages, and books are press printed.” We have a lot of customers, however, that deliver our 6 color, high resolution press printed books as wedding albums. That’s what the photographer calls it, that’s what the bride calls it. So it’s kind of a fuzzy line.

Common uses for each of these products:

Flush mount albums

These are typically provided in higher end, $3,000 and higher, wedding packages. Higher end portrait session clients may order flush mount albums. Be aware that some clients (and some photographers) prefer the coffee style book for there albums.

Layflat press printed books

guest book

These are commonly used for wedding albums, parent albums and portrait albums where images are designed across the gutter in a two page spread. They also work great for guest (signature) books, as guests can sign right up to the gutter of the page. No more writing on the page as it curves into the binding!

“Magazine style” press printed books

These are typically used for proof books and portrait books that don’t have images that go across the book binding.  They’re also popular for making small boudoir books, fashion look-books, and commercial projects by advertising agencies?

Engagement Sessions Up 66%

a wedding guest book is a good use for engagement session photos

Are you up selling engagement sessions when you book a wedding? Your competitors are. According to TheWeddingReport.com:

  • 53% of photographers booked engagement sessions in 2011
  • Engagement session bookings are up 66% over 2009
  • 70% of photographers offer engagement sessions as part of their wedding package

If you’re not part of the 70% you are not maximizing your wedding revenues and you’re likely loosing clients. Why? Engagement shoots are becoming very popular, and the bride may move on to a different photographer before calling if she doesn’t see an engagement session in your packages.

We hear over and over again from our customers that:

“Guest books sell engagement sessions,
and engagement sessions sell guest books.”

Show a guest book along with wedding and parent albums to your initial meeting with your client. An engagement shoot that may not have even been on your client’s radar may suddenly become a necessity!

A guest book is an elegant way to preserve the insights and advice from your client’s wedding guests that they will be able to cherish for years to come. A studio sample can make it really easy to add on an engagement shoot when booking a wedding.

  • SharedInk supplies an archival pen with every guest book we ship. We also include a paper swatch so you or the bride can test your own pen.
  • Guest books are a great marketing opportunity for your studio. Be sure to brand the book so the guests know it’s your work.
  • Layflat pages work great for guest books. No more signing into the gutter!
  • Matte and felt paper are less prone to smear than gloss, pearl and lustre papers.
  • SharedInk provides a 33% discount on all studio samples you order.

For the entire month of April and into early May we are offering a 50% discount on all guest book studio samples! This is a hefty increase over our normal 33% studio sample discount.

Discount Code


Tag Cloud

Here’s a tag cloud that describes SharedInk. We used this in the back wall on our booth at Imaging USA and WPPI trade shows this year. This does a pretty good job describing what SharedInk is about. It was fun to see what grabbed people’s attention.