Category Archives for "Photography"

From Contact Form to Contract

From Contact Form to Contract

 

Before I ever speak to a potential client…

… I usually get an email that reads: “A lead has been assigned to you“. It’s my Customer Relationship Management system’s way of letting me know someone just clicked the <submit> button on the contact form of my website. By this time that lead-emailprospective client has already received a personalized email response, their information is already captured in SalesForce and I’ve gotten a text message with their phone number all while their usually still on my website.

If I’m not shooting, I’ll take a minute, open the SalesForce app on my phone, which lets me see what kind of photography or video the website visitor is looking to have me create for them and give them a quick call or fire off a second prewritten email.

Questions and Answers

Guide to Product PhotographyAttached to the second email is a pdf that answers many of the questions that my clients have asked me over the years. It goes over the basic kinds of product photos, how to make a list of all the shots the client needs, ect.

Your product photography guide really helped us think through the types and number of shots we needed for our project” one client told me recently.

Product Photography guide page 4In addition to the guide they can use my online Request-an-Estimate, another SalesForce integrated form that walks my next client through the basic ASMP Assignment Estimate Form.

Once they’ve worked through the guide and filled out the form, my first phone call usually turns out to be very productive, because many basic questions already have been answered.

With all the information in hand, I can create an estimate, that get’s sent out using a third SalesForce email template. (Check out what an actual estimate of mine looks like.) My estimate always contains a modified version of the ASMP Terms & Conditions, which gets integrated in any proposed agreement the client sends me. Once the estimate is signed and the deposit is received, we schedule the shoot.

Tools I use

Even before that signature I start to build a “Production Book” in 

From Contact Form to Contract: Find-a-photographer

Contracts: Read the fine print

Find a photographer

In my next post I’ll talk about the 5 figure job I had to turn down and some of the events that led up to that decision. However I’d rather prefer to work with a client I haven’t worked for in 5 years, but that liked my work so much I am shooting for them in a few weeks.

The company went through personnel changes – the original creative VP, who brought me in, has long gone – and they are looking to create an image library with me. You can read all about how they found me again and why your filename must include this one word – if you want to work. However that’s another story for another day. Turns out the job is awesome (it started out as a local shoot in Miami and morphed into working in Costa Rica) but the proposed contract was not so good.

How to turn a bad contract into a great contract

The language in the new boilerplate contract I got is stifling: multi month payment terms, absolutely no usage for the creator, I can’t even mention that I work for this client – not on social media, not on my client list, website, no where – that’s a new thing.

Please don’t assume that contracts can not be changed. I had submitted my original terms and conditions with my first estimate and the proposed agreement the clients are sending back is their response. Now we need to put the two together and make them a win-win for both parties. I submitted a reworked version on Friday and had a great 30 minute discussion on the phone with the buyer earlier this week.

The result? Much of the initial language is changing. Yes to promotional usage of images that I’m being commissioned to create, yes to listing the business relationship with the client on social media and my client list, yes on my payment terms (50% deposit before the job and balance payable on delivery of final images), ect.

For heaven’s sake–ask!

Even when working with very large companies, please at least have a conversation on the proposed contract terms. Don’t assume they are set in stone. The worst thing that can happen, is that the terms are not changed and you still have the right to make the decision if working under those terms is beneficial to you (sometimes it is). All I’m saying is ask. Many photographers I know don’t ask or worse don’t read the terms only to find out that they’ve been had. Many clients have global contracts handed down from their legal department, where the Art buyer or creative director understands that terms have to be adjusted for the specific situation that the shoot calls for.

 

How to fix the biggest mistake you’re making on Social Media

Sometimes you just want to undo your mistakes

I’ve been on social media platforms for a decade now. Building my LinkedIn profile, updating my Facebook pages, creating photos for Instagram and tweeting a couple tweets a week.

We all are. Twitter’s stream is even called a firehose, simply because there are so many tweets streaming through that social media channel, that no one can keep up with reading what everybody has to say.

The big question

Here’s the big question for a visual content creator: “How do you get your voice heard?” or rather “how do you get your vision seen?” 

In a flood of grumpy cats, internet memes and yesterday’s late show’s video clips – it seems impossible for your visual content to compete.

You’re doing it all wrong

We talk about our gear: do you shoot Nikon or Canon; how do you backup your files; how to create a focus stack or the perfect HDR shot or the favorite piece of gear, or…

STOP IT!

Can I tell you a secret? You’re clients don’t care. They couldn’t care less if you found the perfect RAW processing software (which is Capture One, in case you were wondering).  They aren’t looking for your explanation of what company provides the best services to run your website (I’m partial to Photoshelter myself). Do you really think you got hired, because of that blog post explaining how to get Facebook to take down a copyrighted image or how to power a GoPro for a couple of days for a long time-lapse?

For almost 10 years I’ve been doing just that – and be honest, so have you. We’re targeting the wrong audience – we’re writing about what we want to learn as photographers.  We’re writing for photographers.

I like you guys, but not one of you is going to hire me because of what I’m blogging, tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming about.  And the people who are looking for a photographer or video creator?  They’re not going to hire me because of those posts, either.

The secret to doing social media the right way

Use social media to put your potential client in a front row seat:

  • Take your client with you. Periscope when you’re scouting a place.
  • Blog about your recent assignment, but talk about how you solved a problem, you’re client is facing.
  • Instagram some behind the scenes shots or have your assistant create a quick behind the scenes video to post on your Facebook page.
  • Tweet a link to your latest customer recommendation on LinkedIn.
  • Share a testimonial video of one of you’re clients recounting why they loved working with you.

You don’t have to stop creating content that other photographers are interested in. It’s great to have Google see you as the expert when it comes to talking about photography, video and marketing, but please spend just as much time on creating content that your potential clients are scouring the web for when they’re looking for the next creative to shoot for them.

Social Media is a powerful platform, but it requires you to know the interests of your audience and what they are willing to spend their time on as well as where that audience is.

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[This article first appeared on “Strictly Business“, the blog for the American Society for Media Photographers.]

a couple of years ago

Pascal Depuhl becomes official Capture One Ambassador

Pascal Depuhl is a Capture One Ambassador

[CAPTURE ONE has discontinued their Ambassador program. I still use and love this software, but the company has stopped issuing discount codes to their Ambassadors.]

Official Capture One Ambassador

I’m proud to announce that Photography by Depuhl is an official Capture One Ambassador. I use Phase One’s RAW image processor on every still life shoot I’ve produced over the last ten years. I’ve used this image processing software with Canon, Nikon as well as a variety of medium format and large format cameras over the years.

But don’t take my word for it, Capture One gives you a 30 day free trial. As an official Capture One Ambassador, I’m thrilled to offer you a 10% discount on this phenomenal software. Use the code at check out when you’re ready to buy Capture One.

What’s impressed me most with Capture One, is their continuing commitment to producing an excellent product that addressed the needs of many photographic disciplines:

  • Capture One renders the best skin tones for the fashion and wedding photographer
  • Capture One has tools specifically created for the architectural photographer
  • Capture One implements fantastic color correction and replacement for the product photographer

Capture One feature list

Phase One has built their RAW processing software around a workflow that goes far beyond the processing of your digital files alone:

  • Get 10% off Capture One

    Use my code PASCALAMB at check out at Capture One to get your 10% discount.

    Library – set up your session or catalog here (Phase One includes a full-fledged image cataloging system to maintain your image archive.

  • Capture – image naming, control your camera and set up image capture parameters; fully integrated with iOS app that allows remote control by you and remote viewing by your client, across your studio via WiFi or across the world via internet enabled connection
  • Color – some of the best color balance, color correction and color replacement in the world. Set it once and Capture One will apply all settings to your next capture upon capture.
  • Exposure – detailed exposure control, increasing your ability to create the perfect image file for your clients
  • Lens – custom lens profiles, LCC profile setup, vignetting and movement control
  • Composition – precise cropping and rotation tools, automatic keystone correction (perfect for architecture and product photographer) as well as layout overlays (for catalog and advertising shooters)
  • Details – focus, noise reduction, film grain, the list goes on and on
  • Local Adjustments – image masking tools to apply many of the Capture One tools to specific parts of your image (great for landscape photographers)
  • Adjustments – full control of which adjustments get copied to a group of images. Capture One has a blazing fast image processing engine that can apply all changes to hundreds of images in seconds
  • Metadata – Copyright Info, Camera EXIF data, keywords, rating and color tags, …
  • Output – fine control over the delivery of your digital files. From full high res files to watermarked digital proofs, Capture One can even make a lighting fast web contact sheet to share with your clients
  • Batch – view your current images as Capture One processes them and go back into your processing history.

Post any questions you have about using Capture One in the comments, I’m glad to give you my 2 cents …

_________

This Capture One link is my affiliate link to Capture One when you use my ambassador code. I approached Phase One, because I want to be part of their affiliate program. I use and love Capture One and believe it’s one of the best RAW image converters for photographers. 

a couple of years ago

Insurance: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Taking Risk

risk & insurnace

Insurance

You can shift some of the risk by paying someone else to assume some of it. Liability Insurance, Indemnification Insurance, Equipment Insurance, Travel Insurance … just make sure you read the fine print and talk with your insurance agent.

Sometimes insurance is not a policy you buy. It’s an immunization or a local person you trust, that can guide you through a culture you are unfamiliar with. You don’t want to say no to a client, because you couldn’t afford the risk.

Travel Insurance

Yesterday we talked about redundancy, but what about the things that are out of your control? Take for example travel: you can plan as much as you want, but if a delay causes you to miss a connecting flight, what do you do? What about if you get seriously hurt? Would you want to know that you’re medevac is covered? Delayed luggage, trip interruption, sickness, the list goes on and on.

It's warm in the Hangar - travel insurance warms my heartCase in point: Travel Insurance is a wonderful thing to have, I got stranded in a blizzard in Afghanistan for 3 days and its great feeling to know that the costs of rebooking flights, extra expenses in country ect. are covered. I don’t travel internationally without buying travel insurance. 

Tech Tip: don’t buy the travel insurance add-on when you book your travel. Go directly to the insurance company’s website and buy your coverage (you’ll spend about the same for much better coverage). I’ve used AIG for my travels and been thrilled with the service I’ve received from them. Here are the things I want covered in my travel insurance policy:

  • 100% Trip Cost Trip Cancellation & 150% Trip Cost Trip Interruption
  • $500 Missed Connection
  • $2,500 Baggage & Personal Effects
  • $1,000,000 Emergency Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains
  • Car Rental Collision Coverage

Read the fine print to see what you get – sometimes equipment is only covered to a certain limit, or coverage is broken down to a certain amount for a certain number of days, but it’s nice to know that someone else is covering you.

Equipment Insurance

There are a lot of options to insure your equipment. Many photo organizations like ASMP, APA and PPA offer deals with insurance companies that specialize in insuring photographers. PPA stands out among them, since they include $15,000.- of equipment insurance as part of their yearly membership. (Read the fine print again, it’s not replacement value – but current market value, but het it’s $15K more insurance than some of the other trade organizations offer.) You can buy more riders to cover your equipment at replacement value and what I’ve found is that my yearly membership fee with PPA plus the insurance riders I’ve purchased with them, cost me less than the insurance I was buying through ASMP.

Get to know your insurance agent – they want to help you and make sure you have the correct coverage. They can add short-term riders for special equipment you need to rent, for events and workshops you’re producing, ect.

PPA also offers an indemnification trust that protects you when things go wrong. Just one more way to help spread risk.

Liability Insurance

Liability Insurance is a requirement to book locations and rent equipment as a professional photographer. All Insurance companies I’ve bought insurance through have offered this type of insurance rider.

Insurance spreads the risk to a company that can help you compensate financially when things go wrong. You don’t want to have to use your insurance, but it’s really nice to have when you need it.

 

a couple of years ago

3 tips to give all your clients front row seat: Marketing Hack #26

10,000 clients sitting in the front row (all at the same time)

Wouldn’t it be great, if a potential client could come along on one of your productions and have a front row seat to see how you work, get a behind the scene glimpse of your workflow and get a feel for your personality on a shoot?

Yeah, I know it’s impossible, but wouldn’t that just be an awesome marketing opportunity? Well although it’s not possible to offer that front row seat to ten thousand clients (or even 10) on set with you, here’s the next best thing you can do:

Let your clients come along for the ride

If you take a little bit of time during a shoot, your clients can join you –front and center– virtually anywhere in the world, no not in person, but online.

Here’s a few ways you can put every member of your target audience, specifically your clients and prospects, in a front row seat of your next shoot:

Instagram/Twitter/Facebook
Instagram is visual, it’s quick to produce and you can easily broadcast the photos to your fans on Facebook and your followers on Twitter. Come up with a memorable hashtag that you use in all the photos and let your target audience experience how you run a production from the virtual front row.

Putting your client in a front row seat via InstagramCase in point: I posted only 18 images to Instagram on my recent trip to New York. Here’ how they break down: 5 travel shots, 5 behind the scenes shots, 4 food shots, 3 shots from NYC and one shot of my packed camera bag. I posted these shots over the course of 4 days and got audience engagement on all 3 social media channels, from people in the business, current and maybe some future clients.

You don’t have to flood your social media accounts with content while you’re shooting. A little bit goes a long way. You can check out all the photos on my Instagram account @photosbydepuhl, follow me and catch the next series of bts images (check out #adventuresinfilmmaking).

Remember to tag clients, people you’re interviewing or photographing to make it easy for them to like, share and retweet your visual content (just make sure you ask their permission first).

a couple of years ago

Redundancy: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Taking Risk

Redundancy and risk

Redundancy

Two are better than one (at least that’s what a hebrew sage wrote 3,000 years ago) – he goes on to say 3 are even better. Looks like not much has changed in three millenniums. Don’t you copy your data to a second drive? Actually you should follow the 3-2-1 Backup rule: 3 copies, 2 different medium, 1 offsite copy. See? The jewish king was right: 3 copies. Today we talk about single point of failure and built-in redundancy. Limit risk by having a plan B and C. You don’t want to say no to a client, because you go to experience a single point of failure.

On location

The ioSafe rugged portable drive can sit underwater for a few days.Case in point: The hard drives that go on location with me are ioSafe drives. You can drop them from 10 feet, it takes over 5,000 pounds to crush them and they are waterproof – submersible to 30 feet for 3 days. Physically there’s no drive that keeps my data safer in the field (and yes the ioSafe drives I use for my day-to-day backup in the office are fireproof on top of that.) I carry two copies of all data on multiple drives in addition to the copy on my laptop.

When I travel back from location one of those two drives does not travel with me. It either travels on another plane or it get’s FedExed back to the studio. Three copies (laptop and two hard drives), 2 media (SSD and HD) and one in an offsite location). 3-2-1 backup rule – check.

Back on the ranch

Photo by Synology

Photo by Synology

Once the ioSafe drives come back to the office to get copied onto a Synology RAID system, which in itself is redundant. Mine has five 4TB Western Digital Red drives in it, that are set up so that one drive can physically fail and no data gets lost. All I have to do is to slip in another drive and the RAID will rebuild itself.

Tech Tip: Remember to back up

The trick is remembering to back up. All the hardware in the world does you no good if you don’t use it. Better yet, set up a system that automatically backs up your jobs (SPOILER ALERT – I’m gonna look at how automation can help you run a more efficient business over the next few weeks – stay tuned …)

Automate your backups

Every night at 3 am, I have a little elf that wakes up my computer and copies all files from that day onto my RAID.