Retouchup Blog

24
Jul
Pro Photographer Spotlight: Ann Monteith

Ann Montieth (1).jpg

We recently have had the pleasure of getting to better know Ann Monteith who has so many wonderful accolades behind her name including being a past president of PPA, owning three successful photography studios and running workshops where she teaches fellow photographers the many ins and outs of successfully running a photography business.

Ann is truly an industry leader and we hope you enjoy getting to know Ann and pick up some great business wisdom like we did during our interview with her!

“Once upon time there was time.” Ann said when I asked her why it was so important that a photographer outsources to be able to grow as a business. She explained that a photographer traditionally thinks that because they work for them self they often think they need to do all the work by themselves and that there is just not enough time to do that. “Well, there is enough time…” She continued, “But if you do use your time like that, your photography business will simply not be profitable.”

Ann then filled me on her experience, where she started, how she struggled, and how she gained control of her photography business. In the 1980’s her and her husband started a portrait photography studio and enjoyed it very much. Soon they realized however that they were in debt, bills were piling up, and even though they had business coming in they were losing money. Ann and her husband didn’t understand how that could be, being that they were working so hard and her husband even had an MBA. “We soon realized that even though he had an MBA it was structured to support a person working for somebody else, not yourself.”

Ann began to search out for others in the photography world who could help, give advice and teach more about how to run your photography business as… a business. Learning from the greats like Bud Haines and Ken Whitemire, Ann could see how much other photographers would benefit from having more business education. After becoming president of PPA, Professional Photographers of America, Ann was really able to focus on providing all the business and financial management skills she had learned to others on a large scale, really turning around how studios viewed their profit making ability.

We then discussed how the film to digital change has impacted how studios thought of outsourcing all over again. She explained how back in the day a photographer only took 20 – 30 photos during a session, (another word of advice to being profitable these days says Ann, “Stop shooting so much!”) then they went back to their darkroom, developed the images, made prints, and then delivered them to the client.

From shooting to showing, the photographer had about 2 weeks to work, edit, create and learn.  But photographers soon realized that being stuck in a darkroom, processing and printing themselves was not profitable at all. They learned that the better solution was for them to keep shooting and outsource their darkroom work to photo labs. “You can’t be doing what someone else can do better and certainly more efficient if you intend to make money in this business.” Being stuck in a darkroom 20 years ago is now the equivalent of being stuck behind your computer. Then Ann commented, “It has the same outcome – you are losing aspects of success when you don’t outsource.”

We also discussed why some photographers are reluctant to outsource. As Ann travels across the country offering Business and Financial Management Workshops for photographers that very subject often comes up. Ann talked about how 95% of those that don’t think they should outsource are clinging to controlling everything in regards to their photographs. In reality, she concluded, they are controlling nothing. Others say why they don’t want a retouching service is because they don’t like “the photoshop” look. Ann learned what they really mean is they want a “natural, polished look” and they are afraid others won’t have the same eye or understanding.

Ann said, “It’s really important to understand when you are outsourcing your work to another in the industry, it’s not about you just giving them work, but you are now working with them.” She talked about how important it is to keep communicating instructions, ideas, and opinions as you work with one another to keep business moving forward and successful. Some photographers get hung up on outsourcing because they feel their clients expect them to handle everything from start to finish. “Clients should expect an excellent finished product, how we as photographers get there is unimportant. What is important is that our time needs to be used wisely. And wisely means it needs to be profitable.”

At the end of our conversation Ann said something that really stood out to us, “We call ourselves professional photographers not because it sounds great to the ears, but because this is a business. A professional business.” If you’re not profitable that doesn’t make your photography a hobby, but it does mean that with the right business and financial management along with outsourcing, you can be!

Thank you for your time Ann! We really appreciate all your insight on the photography business!

For more information on Ann Monteith and her “Get Down to Business” workshops click here!

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02
Jul
Pro Photographer Spotlight: Welcome Them Home

Photography by Bethany Cox

Since July 4th is this Friday we thought it would only be right to point the spotlight on Welcome Them Home. This meaningful service, put together in 2011 by Bethany Cox of Bethany & Dan Photography, is made up entirely of a network of pro photographers who have volunteered their services free of charge to document soldiers returning home to their families.

One thing we really appreciate about Welcome Them Home is how much the photographs capture the spontaneous and heartfelt emotions the families and soldiers have when they see each other for the first time after being apart for so long.

On Welcome Them Home’s Facebook Page you can witness photographers work from around the country and how it shows that everyone can help in supporting our troops even if you’re not in the military. Photographer Asea Tremp shared here thoughts with Welcome Them Home saying,

“As a photographer, and a business owner, I have always felt that it is important to use my talent to give a little something back wherever I can. To shoot simply for the joy of shooting, and not because it is my “job.” This helps me keep in tune with why I love photography and keeps my inspired to create for others. When I first stumbled upon Welcome Them Home I just knew it was something I wanted to be a part of, and the experience has been nothing but incredible. My husband is a Marine veteran and we spent the first couple of years of our married life together as a military family, so supporting our troops, especially our Marines, is something personal for me. It is such a blessing to be asked by a family to share their special homecoming moments with them, and it is a privilege to be tasked with the responsibility of capturing it on film.”

If you would like more information on how you or your studio can share your talent and work in these joyous homecomings go to www.welcomethemhome.org!

Thanks Bethany for letting us share your story!

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25
Jun
Why Wait?

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Recently I went to my local Starbucks to enjoy a cup of my favorite brew, Pike Place Roast, and observed at least 18 cars waiting in the drive thru line. As I drove around the building I observed that there was NO ONE WAITING inside. After I went inside and ordered my coffee I asked the barista why so many people chose to stay in their cars when no one was in line inside. He replied, “I guess some people just like to wait.” Well I am not one of those people.

At RetouchUp.com we don’t make you wait. Our typical turnaround time for most services is 24 hours or less which means you can spend your valuable time on things that makes you the most profit. Simply upload your files through our easy upload method, select your desired service and relax knowing your files are in the skilled hands of our talented artists. Before you know it your images will be ready to download.

The next time you see a long drive thru line, think about RetouchUp.com and our super fast delivery time.

Gary Poole

 

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13
Jun
Photo Quiz Contest!

We’re launching a big Quiz Contest to put your knowledge to the test all in the name of photography! Three winners will be chosen by the highest scores to receive RetouchUp.com Gift Cards!

 

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Here’s how to enter:

  • Like RetouchUp.com on Facebook.
  • Take our Photography Quiz! You have 10 questions to score as many points as possible. Invite your friends and earn +25 extra points for each referred entry (up to 125).

*Limit one entry per person. You must have a Facebook account, like RetouchUp.com on Facebook, and complete the quiz in order to enter this giveaway. Winners will receive one of three gift cards to be used at RetouchUp.com future orders. Value: 1st Place $100, 2nd Place $50, 3rd Place $25 based on their quiz score total. Giveaway closes June 20, 2014, at midnight MST. Winners will be selected at end of contest and announced on June 23, 2014.  Click here for official contest rules.

 

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04
Feb
My Honda Headlamp Experience

A few days ago while driving my wife’s Honda CRV I noticed a dash warning light “DRL”. After looking in the manual to see what that meant (daytime running lamps) I realized her driver’s side headlamp was burned out. I searched on YouTube for nearly an hour on how to make the so called simple replacement.

Wanting to exhibit my resourcefulness I was determined to do the repair myself. I purchased the bulbs for a mere 26.99 and jumped headlong into the exchange. I wanted to change both lights at the same time so I started with the passenger’s side and 3 minutes later was gloating in my accomplishment. Now the driver’s side was a bit more difficult. The opening was narrower and a lot more difficult to reach.

After several near successes the bulb became wedged inside the housing and was dangling inside the lens visible from the outside but not possible for me to reach.

At this point I realized I was in over my head. After a sleepless night trying to imagine to expensive repair I was facing I took it to my local trusted auto mechanic. After one look he said, “yeah it’s wedged but with the right tools and a little patience I think I can get it fixed.” Less than 5 minutes later I was driving away with a properly installed headlamp and it only cost me 5.00.

So what does this true story have to do with retouching?

1. I spent a lot of time trying to determine how to make the repair.

2. I spent a lot of time trying to actually do the repair.

3. I spent a lot of time worrying about the high cost of repairing my botched repair.

At RetouchUp.com our artists are well trained and experienced in all types of photo retouching from simple blemish removal to total image makeovers. We have the tools and the patience to finish your difficult retouch in record time. Our low cost guarantees you the peace of mind of retouching done right that won’t ruin your budget. Rest easy knowing your retouching is in the trusted hands of your friends at RetouchUp.com.

Do you have a similar story to share about how outsourcing a repair saved you time and money?

Gary Poole

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16
Jan
RetouchUp.com’s Gary Poole on X-Rite

X-Rite is the global leader in color science and technology. Now owning Pantone, X-Rite creates a host of tools for those working with color, including those of us in the photographic community.

X-Rite recently asked our own Gary Poole, manager of the Color Division, to speak about his experience with X-Rite products, and their place in his color management work flow here at RetouchUp, and as a photographer.

At RetouchUp.com, you can count on getting help from experts across the industry to help solve your retouching and color management needs.

Thanks, X-Rite for providing excellent tools for the photographic industry.

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10
Dec
In a World…

We thought, with a voice like this, wouldn’t it be neat if he could do our phone system’s voice greeting?

We were so excited when he was willing!

Although we’re sticking with Jake’s version of our classic voice greeting, here’s the “Movie Trailer Guy” version.  That was a lot of fun, but we like to keep the drama OUT of client support calls and it sends out the wrong impression! 🙂

As always, our team is available to help you with all of your photo editing questions and needs at (888) 700-3686, Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm MST. We look forward to hearing from you!

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28
Oct
Safari 6.1 Unsafe Mode

With the update to Safari 6.1, all add-ons that Safari uses, are restricted to what is known as a “Sandbox”. Any applet used by Safari 6.1, is now restricted from accessing your personal files (and therefore, the photos you wish to upload to us.

If you are seeing no photos when trying to add a file, you are affected by the problem:

To fix this issue, you have to run an applet in “Unsafe Mode”. This will allow the website outside of the “Sandbox” and allow it to read your files.

Step 1: Click the Safari Menu at the top-left of the screen, to the right of the Apple Icon

Step 2: Click “Preferences…”

Step 3: Click the “Security” tab in the preferences window

Step 4: Click the “Manage Website Settings…” button next to “Allow Plug-ins”

Step 5: Verify you have “Java” selected on the left-side of the window (as of the writing of this document, the latest version is Java 7 Update 45)

Step 6: If you have visited Retouchup and tried to pull up the applet at least once, you should see the site listed on the right-side window.

Step 7: Select the “Allow” dropdown window, and select “Run in Unsafe Mode” at the bottom

Step 8: It will then ask if you want to give permission to access personal documents. In order to download your photos, Retouchup.com needs this permission. Click “Trust” to confirm it.

Step 9: To verify that “Unsafe Mode” is set, look for the grey triangle next to “Allow”. If it is there, then you are done.

Just click on “Start New Order” again, to reload the page, and you can continue using Retouchup.com on Safari 6.1!

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30
Oct
Can Unleashing Your Creativity Get You More Excited About Marketing?

Don’t you hate being in a group setting, like a class or seminar, and being asked to raise your hand to something that ends up being a trick question? I do.

I imagine the question “Do you do enough marketing?” could be one of those questions. Don’t say yes! It’s a trick!

We all know that marketing should be right up there on any list of our important daily/weekly activities. But a lot of us got into photography because we were in love with, and have a talent for, making great photographs, not necessarily being marketing masters.

How can you get more excited about marketing your business? I’ll share something that’s helped us stay excited about our marketing. Trying creative ways to get our message out there.

Oh, we do traditional marketing methods, sure, which include our print advertising, forum sponsorship/participation, even direct mail. They’re effective and… we’re kind of good at it. But among these traditional and effective marketing tools, we like to try new things. And sometimes it’s the new things that get us, and others, excited about working with us.

Photo Restoration Day

In 2004 and again in 2009 we sent a proposal to each state’s governor requesting a day in each state to be declared “Historical Photo Restoration Day”. We then coordinated with a client in each state to meet with their governor to accept the signed declaration, as well as work with any local media to announce the day and get some publicity for their photo lab. Could you get a day declared as “Professional Photography Day” or “Family Photo Day”? It’s not unlikely. Here are examples of some of the state proclamations that were approved:
Colorado, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin.

The Candy Bar Manifesto

We wrote a couple articles that laid out some important reasons photographers choose to work with us. We wanted to invite all photographers to read them, but how?

We created CandyBarManifesto.com, and offered a choice of a candy bar of your choice to anyone who would read one of the articles. We then distributed the candybars at the WPPI show in Las Vegas. We considered it a great success. Hundreds of photographers got an in depth understanding of some of the reasons we should be in their toolbox – all at a fraction of what a print ad would cost.

What information would you like to get out to YOUR potential customers? Once you have that information together, what fun ways can you get your audience to read it? Anyone who answers three questions at the end can enter into a drawing? Anyone who commits to look through your entire gallery can click on a button that gives them a small discount? Anyone who reads all of your testimonials and then orders from you gets an extra 8×10?

CharleyFix

Right now, Hurricane Sandy is raining down on the East Coast. A few years ago, we created CharleyFix.com (no longer maintained) for Hurricane Charley. We provided free photo restoration services to those affected by that storm.

It was an opportunity to serve, and also to get the word out about photo restoration in general.

What opportunities to get out and serve your community would help recharge your batteries, help you feel fulfilled, and also extend your circle of influence/contacts?

On a NON-marketing note, not all service is done to be visible, or for a marketing gain. One fantastic opportunity is the NILMDTS organization. It is a sensitive yet real need in the community. (We operate the AngelPics project which has a related goal, wherein we retouch images for the same families that NILMDTS serves.) It’s hard to give truly selfless service when the service itself can bring us a sense of joy in giving.

Youtube Videos

Can getting to know your personal side help people choose to work with you? What if you had an overview of “What can you expect with a session with me?” What if you showed a video with your top 10 tips for dressing for a successful shoot?

We put together some videos that had a purpose, but also showed off a little of our personality.

The Retouch Fairy

Currently, we’re having fun being “The Retouch Fairy” on Twitter, where we watch for tweets from photographers struggling with their retouching, and send some free retouching/pixie dust their way in an effort to help free up some of their time. And if they learn about a great resource that would help them next time while they’re at it? Well that’s fine by us!

Twitter.com/TheRetouchFairy

What if you had a promotion called the “The Fix It” – and anyone locally who has a bad experience with a non-professional, can be referred to you and you’ll hook them up with a discount/extra prints, etc. What if you could encourage people in your community, that when they see people on THEIR social media complaining about photos, that they automatically think “Are you aware of the Mr./Mrs. Fix It promotion? Yeah, if an amateur photographer messed up your photos, they’ll help make it right, and get you a deal!” The specifics don’t matter – the idea is – what kind of creative way can you use social media to break through the status quo?


What’s Next For Us Both?

These are just *some* of the things that we’ve tried/are trying
Would trying new things get you more excited about marketing your business? You’re a creative person – and if you don’t enjoy traditional marketing, it’s understandable. If you mixed in some of your creative ideas along with some tried and true methods, could you get more excited about doing more to market yourself?

Let’s have fun this next year! Let’s grow and enjoy doing it!

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22
Oct
OSX – Oct 18th Patch

Recently, Apple has decided that due to various issues with their maintained version of Java, that it is time to discontinue java.  With a patch released on Oct 18th, they have removed java from all versions of OSX that they work with.

Going forward, OSX will now allow you to install the copy of Java that Oracle maintains.

A copy can be found here:

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/jre7u9-downloads-1859586.html

This latest download only supports 64 bit versions of OSX.  Any 32 bit installations are no longer supported.

More details about his issue can be found here:

http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1572

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9232566/
Apple_tries_to_kill_its_own_Java_on_most_Macs

Thank you.

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