1. Using Pinterest to Grow Your Wedding Photography Company

    How to use Pinterest as an effective tool to build your wedding photography company.

    I’m often asked if Pinterest is a worthwhile way for photographers to spend their precious marketing time. I personally experience many benefits utilizing Pinterest, both digitally and financially. Digitally, it has increased my SEO rankings, website traffic, and created a new way for clients to find my company. Financially, I have been fortunate to have booked clients who’s initial connection was finding my work on Pinterest.

    Generally the follow-up question I receive is, “How do I Pinterest?”. The site is known for its extreme simplicity. Create a board, search interests, pin things to board. It’s the 21st century version of the scene from bad chick flicks, where the down-on-her-luck gal is randomly inspired to pursue fashion and begins clipping every magazine she owns on her bed (Source: P.S. I Love You). But below the surface, Pinterest uses many complexities to ensure that content is relevant and worthy of being seen. This means those who jump on the social network and pin wonderful images to their boards, may be very saddened when their analytic graphs show no movement. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to ensure that your content gets seen, and benefits your business.

    Before You Pin

    1. Start out making all the right decisions

    Many photographers jump on Pinterest for the first time and immediately start uploading their work, without a clue as to how the site operates. I know, I was there. If you are just starting out on Pinterest, do your research first to make sure you do not waste time. And if you already have a presence, take the steps to modify your past content to make it more friendly for the future.

    2. Make sure all your branding is in line before your first pin

    Make your account of the business variety. Upload your Profile picture. Connect your website and networks such as twitter. Name your page with Wedding Photography (or other niche if you are applying this to a different business model) and make sure to talk about that and location in the bio. All of these things ensure that, if one of your pins makes an impression on the right person, they have the means to find you.

    3. Find friends you’ve already made

    Initial pins are important. You do not need a huge following to get started, but using the available friend import tools can help you get a small following of people you know. This ensures that someone is seeing your uploads as they are hot off the press. Pinterest doesn’t really care about images that have 0 repins, so you’ll never reach the rest of the world if someone doesn’t make the first repin. Bribing / shaming / crying to friends is also appropriate at this stage to get yourself going.

    4. Create a specific board and describe it well

    Now that your page is up and properly branded, it’s almost time to start pinning. Make sure the board(s) that you create has a well-described title and even more specific description. Include style, locations, type of work, etc.. For instance, “Michigan Wedding Photography Inspiration” will be far more successful at getting potential clients to see my work than “Weddings”. Make sure the title and description are focused on the same topic, and describe the pins well..
     

    While you pin.

    5. Always include a source

    There are a variety of ways to pin. You can upload directly, drop in a link, or use external resources to get images to your boards. Whatever the method, always include a source. If you are going from URL or pinning on a site using an external method (such as the “right click to pin” add-on for Google Chrome), the source will automatically be entered. The source is important because, without it, your traffic will never leave Pinterest. Users know when you click a pin, it takes you to it’s source URL so you can find out more, without it most users will quickly move on (even if your link is in the description).

    6.  Use your description area wisely

    This is your biggest weapon in acquiring organic search traffic of your wedding photography on Pinterest. This is also the trickiest area, as the algorithms are about as mysterious as the Google search bar. We do know things that work. Put your most important descriptors first. Do not put “My Name Photography” as the first words because nobody is searching for you. You can be image specific, or generic (if you are like me and copy past the same into every description for time saving purposes). Next, you want to open yourself up to many different searches, so try to add relevant terms to each of your pins. 

    7. Think like a client

    One of the biggest mistakes people make when using Pinterest for marketing purposes is they describe theirs pins like a professional, as opposed to how a client would seek it out. Avoid jargon and verbiage that clients are unlikely to use, or at minimum, include both in your description. Yes, you may have to get off your horse for a moment and call your beautiful photography “pictures”, but it’s worth it when the end result is a new client finding you.

    After you pin

    8. Share your new board on other social networks

    Pinterest is one of the more unique social media sites. Sharing your Pinterest content on your other social networks will create an opportunity for others to store what they love from your work. Also, you want your new pins to get traffic as soon as possible. Unseen pins will never move up the search ranks.

    9. Repin other users

    Now that you have a Pinterest account, it’s important to use it for reasons other than self promotion. Share pins that inspire you, even if they do not directly relate to your industry. I have boards of all the different niches of photography that I enjoy. Just realize that what you pin is attached to your business, so try to keep everything professional.

    10. Avoid trying to keep track of where your pins go

    A repin is a positive thing, and that’s all that matters. I have images that garnered very little attention from my board, but have hit the popular page from someone else repinning. This is why you want to source from the start. This ensures no matter where your pins catch fire, the traffic always finds a way home.

    I hope this guide helps you get started to an effective Pinterest strategy that is beneficial to your wedding photography business. Feel free to comment with any additional questions and I will respond to the best of my knowledge. Check back for future educational posts on Pinterest regarding the use of hashtags, and the map feature. Happy shooting everyone!

    Robert Hall is a professional photographer in Southeast Michigan. His work primarily consists of weddings, commercial and editorial. He is constantly improving his skills through trading of techniques and critique with fellow photographers. Robert is always looking for new connections on social networks!

    www.robhallphoto.com
    www.facebook.com/robhallphoto
    Twitter / Instagram: @robhallphoto

     

  2. Metro Detroit Wedding Photography - Fred and Tanya Teaser Post

    The teaser post of Fred and Tanya’s Wedding.

    Wedding Photography by : Robert Hall Photography

    Wedding Ceremony Location : Home Ceremony Brighton, MI

    Romantics Location : Oak Pointe Country Club

    Wedding Reception Location : Oak Pointe Country Club

     

  3. What do the F-stop Numbers Represent?

    An explanation of the mathematics behind the F-stop

    When making the jump to manual photography, one of the most confusing topics can be that of the f-stop. Even after learning that the aperture controls your depth of field, you can still be very confused by why the numbers change the way they do. It’s no surprise, as circle geometry isn’t something you use in your daily life.

    However, understanding the mathematics can give you an excellent grip on the f stop scale, especially if you’re the left-brain type. Let’s assume that you are already familiar with the full f-stop scale (1.4 - 2 - 2.8 - 4 - 5.6 - 8 - 11 - 16 etc.). Why is it that only increasing .6 from 1.4 to 2 is the same time of adjustment as moving 5 from 11 to 16?



    The reason is that the f/stop number is actually a ratio between the diameter and focal length of the lens. The inverse relation of light stems from the diameter becoming smaller as the f/stop number increases. For instance, an 85mm lens at f/2 will yield a diameter of 42.5mm (85 / 2), If you stop down (increase the f/stop and reducing the light 1 stop) to f/2.8, the diameter is now  30.3 (85 / 2.8). Now I know what you are thinking, 30 isn’t half of 43, so how did we halve the light if the diameter didn’t get cut in half?

    This brings us back to circle geometry. We need to look at the area of light that passes through the opening. The area of a circle is found by πx radius^2. The radius is half of the diameter, and pi is a constant that represents the circumference divided by the diameter. So, lets do the area math for the example above with the 85mm lens.

    At F/2 we have a diameter of 42.5, and F/2.8 is 30.3. This gives us a radius of 21.25 and 15.15 respectively. 

    So for f/2 we have π x 21.25^2 = 3.14 x 451.5 = 1418 square mm (rounded)
    For f/2.8, its π x 15.15^2 = 3.14 x 229.5 = 720 square mm (rounded)

    As you can see (while looking past some rounding), we have cut the area of light in half. This is why when you stop down, you are actually cutting the strength of light by 2. The ratio also explains while the numbers start to have bigger intervals as you move up the scale.

    Hope this helps and please feel free to keep asking questions so I can provide you with more educational content!

    Robert Hall is a professional photographer in Southeast Michigan. His work primarily consists of weddings, commercial and editorial. He is constantly improving his skills through discussion of techniques and critique with fellow photographers. Robert is always looking for new connections on social networks!

    www.robhallphoto.com
    www.facebook.com/robhallphoto
    Twitter / Instagram: @robhallphoto

     

  4. Metro Detroit Wedding Photography - Danielle and Jason - Teaser

    The teaser post of Danielle and Jason’s wedding.

    Wedding Photography by : Robert Hall Photography

    Wedding Ceremony Location : White House Wedding Chapel

    Romantics Location : Detroit, MI - Woodward Ave.

    Wedding Reception Location : Club Venetian

     

  5. Metro Detroit Wedding Photography - Danielle and Jason - Teaser

    The teaser post of Danielle and Jason’s wedding.

    Wedding Photography by : Robert Hall Photography

    Wedding Ceremony Location : White House Wedding Chapel

    Romantics Location : Detroit, MI - Woodward Ave.

    Wedding Reception Location : Club Venetian

     
  6. #strawberrywatermelonlemonlime #howtomakeanewhashtag #gulpgulp

     
     
  7. Retiring on top #flapflap #flappywings

     

  8. Winter Wedding | The Inn at St. John’s | Michigan Wedding Photographer

    Beautiful Winter Wedding - Plymouth, MI - Metro Detroit Wedding Photography

    Wedding Date: January 4th, 2014

    Wedding Ceremony Location: The Inn at St. John’s - Chapel - Plymouth, MI

    Wedding Reception Location: The Inn at St. John’s - Grande Ballroom - Plymouth, MI

    Wedding Photographer: Robert Hall Photography

    Flowers: Viviano Flower Shop


    Here’s the resulting beauty when a couple bravely chooses January as their wedding month in Michigan. The Inn at St. John’s was the perfect backdrop with their excellent chapel, courtyard, and grande ballroom. The timeless color palette and lively dispositions brought warmth to an otherwise chilly day. The grande ballroom was elegantly decorated with subtle hints of a concluding holiday season. While the day went without a flake, the night brought on a massive flurry. The adventurous couple capitalized on the moment by capping the night with an outdoor kiss.

     

  9. Best. Gif. Ever.

     

  10. How to use TTL - Photography Tutorial on dSLR cameras and Speedlites / Speedlights

    Do you avoid the TTL system on your speedlite because you never know what you are going to get as a result? It’s an extremely complex system that intends to figure out the flash output for you, yet constantly photographers are frustrated by the seemingly random nature of it’s results. Well I’m here to give you a few tips on how to increase the accuracy of your TTL system.

    First, a little background on how TTL works. TTL (Through-the-lens) metering determines the value of flash output by sending out a pre-flash to expose the subject, and then uses that data to determine the final power to use during the exposure. This all happens extremely flash, which is why you and your subject may not even see a gap in between flashes. There is some variety to the process, based on models, however this is the current standard of TTL for major companies. Much like the ambient light meter in your camera that you use to determine your exposure settings, the flash aims to expose your subject at an 18% gray value. Some systems also incorporate the subject distance based on the autofocus information to determine where the subject is in the scene.

    It sounds like there is plenty of information for the TTL to create an accurate flash, so why are the results all over the place? There are a number of things to consider, and thankfully most are controllable by the photographer.

    The most important thing to realize, is that the TTL system is always aiming for an 18% gray midtone result. To combat this, you use the same technique as when compensating for light and dark subjects in natural light. When you have a subject that is darker than the 18% gray, you must tell the camera to reduce the TTL output (essentially the EV of a speedlite). Conversely for brighter subjects you want to increase the power.

    Next, you have to consider the metering mode. If you are in matrix metering, realize that the camera is trying to light the entire scene evenly through the use of the flash. This is where I see a lot of photographers getting overexposed results on their subjects, especially when they are in a dark environment. The speedlite is selecting a power amount to get the subject and background to it’s desired exposure. By the time the background is properly illuminated, the much closer subjects are overexposed or completely blown out. Partial metering will give you a variety of results depending on what is in the center area of your image. This generally works well, until you are creating a composition where the subject is off-center. This goes for re-composing a shot after locking focus. While you retain focus on the subject, your meter is now making a completely different calculation. I will address this more later. Finally, spot metering chooses the smallest area to determine flash power. Based on the autofocus selection, the speedlite will aim to properly expose only 1-5% of the viewfinder area. As with Partial metering, re-composing an image will also change the flash value.

    There is hope however, to still get accurate flash results when re-composing an image after achieving focus. When shooting in an automated mode (such as Aperture priority), the camera has an option called AE-L to lock in the exposure information on a particular subject, prior to changing the position of the camera. There is also a flash version of that called FV-Lock. This enables you to focus on the subject, hold the FV Lock button to lock in that information, and then adjust the composition. This works perfectly in scenarios where your subject is off-center or out of the focusing grid area.

    The last thing to consider is strong ambient light or reflections. Back lit situations will force the speedlite to be under powered, sometimes to the point where maxing out the increased flash compensation still won’t be enough. This happens similarly when the flash hits a highly reflective surface such as a mirror. When the flash bounces off the mirror and into the lens, it thinks it has achieved a proper exposure much sooner. It is best to keep your flash from being visible in a mirror or reflective surface to ensure a proper exposure. Even after being fully aware of all this information, TTL may still be ineffective in certain scenarios. If this is the case, simply swap to manual. I hope this gives a greater understanding of how you can make TTL work for you in a more consistent manner.

    Robert Hall is a freelance photographer in Southeast Michigan. His work primarily consists of weddings, commercial and editorial. He is constantly improving his skills through trading of techniques and critique with fellow photographers. Robert is always looking for new connections on social networks!

    www.robhallphoto.com
    www.facebook.com/robhallphoto
    Twitter / Instagram: @robhallphoto