MagCloud for the Wedding Photographer

Whether you are a professional wedding photographer with a studio space and a team of five, or you’re flying solo, it’s important to present your business in the most professional and appealing way possible to your clients. MagCloud is an easy and affordable way to publish lookbooks, promotional tools and affordable products that that you can sell as a part of your business’s offerings. With easy publisher settings you can offer any, or all of your publications in both print and digital formats.

A number of photographers have already discovered the value of MagCloud for their business. They are using the service to promote themselves at trade events with a brochure or glossy catalog, provide lookbooks to potential clients, print proof books for existing clients; and even as a sales tool intended to up-sell clients to an entire gallery of prints rather than just one or two.

Let’s explore some of the options available for your wedding photography business:

Portfolio and Catalog:

At just 20¢ a page for Standard size or 16¢ for Digest size, MagCloud offers full-color, full-bleed printing on HP’s beautiful Indigo presses–a true advantage for today’s professional photographers.

For example, if you want to create a full-color soft-bound book to highlight your photography and present your services, you could do so in a 28-page Standard-sized perfect-bound publication for just $6.60 a copy. Yep, you read that right, $6.60 a copy. And you don’t have to buy 100 to get that pricing, you could order them one at a time if you like, or drop-ship them to an address list of potential clients who have seen your work online and are interested in learning more.

**Want to create one of your own? If you use Microsoft Publisher, we’ve already got a great basic 4-page catalog template to get you started. Don’t use Publisher? Feel free to use the design as inspiration for your own services catalog.

Lookbook:

If you’d prefer to woo your customers before revealing all of your pricing, or would just prefer to have something less time-sensitive for showing off your work, we suggest creating a lookbook. Lookbooks are a great way to express your style, showcase your best work, and really tell your potential customers who you are.

Some publishers have started to use our ultra-portable Digest Landscape format to create a marketing piece that shows off their best work in a portable format that doesn’t break the bank.

What’s great about this idea is that the Digest Landscape’s compact 8.25″ x 5.25″ size makes it easy to keep on hand. Should you meet someone who is interested in hiring you, you can easily hand off the book to a potential client and not cringe at what it costs to replace. And with a max page count of 384, you could create a lookbook that includes hundreds of images, worthy of your coffee table. At just 16¢ a page for our Digest Landscape publications (plus $1 for perfect binding), you can create an impressive 60-page lookbook for just $10.60.

Album for family and friends:

Waiting for that big beautiful album can sometimes take weeks, or months, so while your bride is still excited about the wedding and singing your praises, why not surprise her with a mini photobook, or cool glossy magazine of photos from her big day? She’ll be thrilled to show off your work to her friends and family, and with our 3-day print turn around time, you could surprise the happy couple before they get home from their honeymoon.

You could also create a similar album as a product for your newlyweds to give as a thank you gift to extended family, bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Sales tool:

If you sell more than just digital packages, you know how hard it can be to sell prints–especially large prints (like the elusive 20″ x 30″ canvas) or collections of images, intended to be displayed as galleries. Most clients can’t envision what a gallery of their images could look like–”How would they arrange them? Where would it go?” That’s why some photographers have created booklets to help their clients place their orders. Diagrams and examples can help customers to envision a gallery in their home so they can select prints that work well together. If you went so far as to create this publication and save it as a template, you could drop a few of the customer’s images into the gallery diagrams creating a customized booklet to really seal the deal.

Proof Book:

It seems just about everyone has made the switch to online galleries for proofing, but there is something to be said about proofing photos in print, especially when you are planning to buy them in print.

So why not put together a proof book for your client to accompany that online gallery? This way your bride can have something in hand when she talks to her parents or grandparents about that 20”x 30” canvas. You could even go so far as to include your print pricing, packages or gallery inspiration guide into a custom publication to help encourage larger sales.

Showcase for Vendors:

If you’ve been in the business for awhile, you probably have already had a number of referrals come not just from happy brides, but also from vendors. You know that impressing a location rep means your images might get highlighted when they tour brides-to-be around their venue. Event planners love to show off your beautiful photos of their meticulously-planned soirées, so why not give them access to your photos in a way that not only highlights their work, but at the same time shows you off? We’ve seen photographers partner with venues and service professionals to create custom showcase publications for their specific businesses, but imagine how popular you’d be with everyone down to the makeup artist if you created a showcase book for each wedding and shared it them for their own promotional uses? Every time they show off that booklet, their client will see your brand.

Annual Retrospective for past clients:

If you do more than wedding photography, it makes sense to remind your clients of this. Then, as your wedding clients become growing families, they can make you their photographer for life – there to document their pregnancy, baby photos, family portraits and even high-school seniors.

Creating an annual retrospective photography magazine to highlight favorite sessions from the previous year is a great way to remind customers that you do other types of photography. Similar to a portfolio, this sort of publication can really highlight events, press-opportunities and sessions that occurred during the past year. Clients highlighted in the publication would surely love a copy to show off to their friends, and it keeps you top-of-mind for their next photo-worthy occasion.

Client Gifts:

A number of wedding photographers send gifts to their couples at their anniversary, or around the holidays, so why not create a calendar template that you can customize for each couple?

Swap in photos from their big day, add their anniversary to the calendar, and voilà! You’ll have a product that costs you $5.60 + shipping (a 28-page Standard publication) and reminds your bride how fabulous you are every day of the year.

Print or Digital? Why Choose?

There is a constant debate about print vs. digital, arguing why one is better than the other. Here at MagCloud, our motto is “Why choose?” What’s great about all of these ideas is that if you like, any one of them could also be enjoyed and shown off on the iPad or as a digital download to any PC or tablet device. With just a few clicks you can use one PDF for both print and digital purposes, just opt-in for digital distribution when you select your print pricing and finishing options.

More:

Along with all of these great ideas, you can also use MagCloud to print professionally bound Contracts, Employee Handbooks, Style Guides, Posing Guides, Workbooks, and Lighting How-to’s for workshops. Want more inspiration? Browse more wedding photography publications on the MagCloud website.

Have you used MagCloud as a promotional piece or product for your wedding photography business, or have you been inspired to create something from this post? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Publisher Spotlight: Portfolio Contest Winners Sean McCloskey, Cemal Ekin and Jeremiah Johnson

In this post, we’re excited to highlight the work of the top three winners of the MagCloud Portfolio Contest.

This photo of U2 is Sean's favorite concert photo. It was taken on the final night of their 2001 U.S. tour. (Credit: Sean McCloskey)

Sean McCloskey
Photographer Sean McCloskey, grand prize winner of the MagCloud Portfolio Contest, got his start shooting concerts while in college. His passion for the business led him to publish his first magazine just two months after graduation. He’s now been in the photography business for more than 16 years and as well as a magazine publisher for the past 13 years. Sean’s MagCloud contest entry is a showcase of his first 15 years in the concert photography business.

Thanks to MagCloud, Sean has been able to break out of the local market and get more eyes on his work. He found a way to not only distribute digitally but also easily maintain the high quality print distribution that’s so important to photographers.

He currently has four publications on MagCloud.com: SFL Music, Movie Zone, Streets and his submission for the Portfolio Contest. Check out Sean’s work and join us in congratulating him once again!

Photo of the Hagia Sophia from inside the dome. (Credit: Cemal Ekin)

Cemal Ekin
Cemal Ekin, one of our contest runners-up, is a true MagCloud whiz. He stumbled across the service when looking for a new way to spark innovation in his classroom at Providence College. His students began creating and publishing MagCloud magazines each semester – their publications were a hit and Cemal saw an opportunity to spread the word about his own work.

The portfolio he entered in our contest, along with his other publications, have really made an impact with clients and have helped attract new business opportunities. Whether at an unveiling party for his latest publication or a closed-door meeting with new prospects, it’s the quality of MagCloud’s print and binding that grabs the audiences’ attention. Obtaining shots of the Hagia Sophia from inside the dome is a rarity, and Cemal’s portfolio of this work not only wooed his community into voting for him in our contest but also spread his work to new contacts – notably ARTstor.org (a premiere collection for art and art history research) who accepted his photos of the dome’s detailed mosaics and structure of the dome into their exclusive collection.

Ekin has even written up the process he uses for preparing his photos for printing through MagCloud on his site, KeptLight.com. A big fan of the ease of publishing workflow, he breaks the process down in digestible steps. Have a look!

Don’t forget to view all of Cemal’s MagCloud publications here, including his portfolio submission. Bravo on your win, Cemal!

Entryway and mud-room of the PrairieHouse project. (Credit: Jeremiah Johnson)

Jeremiah Johnson
Designer and amateur photographer Jeremiah Johnson created his MagCloud portfolio to showcase his architectural and graphic design work along with his budding photography skills. Seeking work, he needed a solid portfolio to leave behind at job interviews and cold calls. From the start, Jeremiah knew that MagCloud’s publishing quality and value was tough to beat.

Jeremiah was thrilled to receive job offers from the first three firms he submitted his MagCloud portfolio to and accepted an offer from an architecture firm in Minneapolis. In addition to his design and photography skills, Jeremiah said that “the professional quality of the publication is what caught the eye of potential employers who often receive spiral bound booklets of inkjet printed pages from applicants.”

Congratulations on the win and the new job, Jeremiah! View his portfolio here and catch even more of his great work here.

Announcing: Portfolio Contest Winners

After an exciting voting round with 2,389 votes, the official winners of the MagCloud Portfolio Contest have been selected!

Grand Prize Winner: Sean McCloskey
Sean’s portfolio showcases his 15 years of concert photography experience and trust us – the images do not disappoint. Sting, Sheryl Crow, Prince and David Bowie all grace the pages of this 83-page montage of music heavyweights on stage and in their element.

Click here to view and purchase Sean’s winning portfolio, or read more about Sean and his photography on his website.

Runner-up Winner: Cemal Ekin
Cemal’s submission shows off the architectural beauty of the famed Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul. Views from all angles make this structure shine in a most deserving light.

Click here to view and purchase Cemal’s amazing work, or visit his MagCloud profile and follow him on Twitter.

Runner-up Winner: Jeremiah Johnson
Jeremiah draws a close relationship between photography, design and architecture in his portfolio. His extensive experience in the field is chronicled in his 46-page submission. We encourage you to take a look.

Click here to view and purchase Jeremiah’s submission, or see more of his work on his website.

We want to thank each of these great creative professionals as well as everyone who submitted an entry to our Portfolio Contest and voted. A very special thanks to our wonderful sponsors: Wacom, Pantone and MyFonts. Our winners got some truly amazing prizes.

Congrats To All Our Portfolio Contest Entrants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The voting period has officially closed for our first-ever Portfolio Contest. We received a lot of impressive submissions and are having a blast seeing the work that our publishers do every day. Thank you to all who submitted and voted in the contest.

Winners will be notified in mid-January. Your patience is appreciated during the next few weeks while we sort out the winners. Until then, check out all the great entries on our Facebook page.

A big thank you to our sponsors: Wacom, Pantone and MyFonts. Their products made our prize packs irresistible!

Remember, there will be a total of ten lucky winners. Here’s a little reminder about what you could be taking home.

We appreciate your time and energy and would love to hear any feedback on our contest in the comments section below.

 

 

Portfolios Made Simpler With Flickr

Have you wanted to create a print portfolio for your photography, artwork or business but don’t have the design skills or the right software to get the job done?

Here at MagCloud we are always looking to make things easier for you, which is why we offer the option to create a print publication using a Flickr photoset. It’s easy to use, and in just a few minutes MagCloud will take a set of your photos on Flickr and lay them out in a simple one-image-per-page template to create a tidy portfolio. What’s great is that it works almost instantly and is very easy to use, so if you need to get a collection off to a potential client immediately, or have procrastinated and need to get something together quick–then this is the tool for you. Follow along with my example below, and give it a try for yourself.

Here’s how it works:

1. Upload your images to Flickr and organize them in a photoset.
Be sure to put the images in the order you wish for them to show in the portfolio. This means your first image will be your cover image, and then the rest will follow. Since each image will be assigned to a page, you will want to have a number that is an increment of 4 (that means 4, 8, 12, 16… etc). My set in this example has 36 images, so it will be 36 pages long.

2. Edit the titles of your photos. (optional)
If you wish to include captions for your photos, such as credit information, location or other details, be sure to edit the titles of your photoset while in Flickr. You’ll have the option to include these titles at the bottom of each page of your final printed portfolio, so you could also use this space to include your contact information or copyright details.

3. Start the creation process at MagCloud.com/publish.
Once you are ready to publish, select the import from Flickr option on the Create Publication page. This will launch the importer, where you can select a photoset from your Flickr account.

4. Select your options and create your file.
The Title and Subtitle you enter here will appear on the cover of your publication. This is also where you can select whether you want to include photo titles and page numbers.

5. Preview your file and set binding options.
Take a quick look at your publication to confirm your settings. You can scroll through every page to see how your portfolio will look. Happy with it? Then select your binding options and publish!

6. You’re done!
See, now wasn’t that easy? Though this example is that of a children’s sports photographer, the Flickr Import could be used to make portfolios for your jewelry design business, fine art, architecture, decorating, crafts, or graphic design work. How you use it, is up to you.

A few tips and things to consider BEFORE you start your import:

What Image will be on my cover?
For simplicity, this should be the first image in your photoset.

What order do I want my images in?
The order that your images are in within your photoset, is the order they will appear in your MagCloud portfolio.

Which images will be facing on spreads?
If the first image in your set is the cover, then images 2 and 3 will be facing pages. It’s a good idea to go through your set to be sure that you like the arrangement of these photos (are people facing off the pages, or leaning against the outside edge of a page?) if so, you may want to swap around the order of your image.

Do I want to include captions or credits?
Because the title appears at the bottom of the page using this Flickr feature, you can also use this space for copyright information, or to include your contact information. In the examples below you can see how we accomplished this. To be sure every other page has the right information, just be sure to alternate the information in the titles of your images.

Is there any non-photographic content that I want to include like my contact information/ company logo?
To do this you have to get a bit tricky and create an image of the content and save it to flickr. You can use this trick to load verbiage into alternating pages, or if you want to include your company logo and contact information and logo on the back cover, this is a great work-around to do that. Simply create the image in any application that allows you to save an image (Flickr will let you upload JPEGs, non-animated GIFs, PNGs or TIFFs) and add it to your set.

What’s the maximum image size printed with the Flickr upload?
If you want to make sure your photo takes up as much of the page as possible, size it at 1875 by 2625 pixels at a minimum of 300 dots per inch resolution.

Are my images high enough resolution for printing?
The largest image size using the flickr uploader is 2475 by 2475 pixels on the covers and 1875 by 2625 pixels for interior images. For more information about photo quality and printing check out our blog post about getting the most out of your photos.

Can I have more than one photo on a page using the “Upload from Flickr” feature?
The “Upload from Flickr” feature currently only uses one photo per page. If you are adventurous, one way around this is to create a single image file (jpg, gif, png or tiff) that contains multiple photos and upload it as part of your Flickr set. Make sure the single image file is 1875 by 2625 pixels at a minimum of 300 dots per inch resolution. When your MagCloud publication is created, this file will be placed on a single page just like your other photos, creating the impression of multiple images on a single page like this example.

A Few Inspirations For Your Portfolio

As mentioned in our blog series, MagCloud is here to help publish your portfolio and provide options to create a big impression with a small format. So what’s the next step? We thought we’d offer a few examples to inspire you to start or update your existing portfolio. Portfolios are critical for designers, photographers and other small business owners who want to get exposure for their work and land new clients.

Whether you’re a musician, watercolor painter or even a blacksmith, you can capture a moment of creativity by browsing through more than 300 portfolios already on MagCloud. Draw additional inspiration from portfolios of other notable interior designers, graphic designers, and architects. Below are a few more examples of what your fellow publishers have been working on.

This collection of artist’s portfolios is a great example of using our digest format. For those conscious about budgets and the size of your portfolio, digest size provide an efficient way to share your best work in both print and digital formats.

As a small business, Sweet Pea Floral Creations showcases some of their favorite floral arrangements and highlights from client events and weddings.

Just graduated? Compile your best work for a great supplement to your resume, just like this advertising creative portfolio that Lauren Richer created.

Interior and architectural photographer David Duncan Livingston created various portfolios of his clean, welcoming photographs of homes, hospitality and products.

Below is a run-down of additional photography print portfolios that have caught our eyes.

  • The Art of Enzo Mondejar features an avant-garde take on portraiture by the gifted photographer, Enzo Mondejar. The images are creatively captivating and we hope they offer some inspiration for your print portfolio.
  • Nevertheless is the creative output of Peter Olschinsky, Verena Weiss and Gerhard Weib. This gorgeous layout design can teach us all more about how to present our images in the best light and perspective.
  • Finally, the Lolli POP Project is the work of photographer Massimo Gammacurta and is a great example of letting color explode onto a printed page and take off. Featured in Wired Magazine in December 2010, this project is both eye-catching and salivating.

What other portfolios have you seen that help inspire you to create your own? Share them with us in the comments below.

Make a Big Impression in a Smaller Package

Continuing our series on publishing your portfolio through MagCloud, today we take a look at a few design ideas for using the new Digest product to present your work in a more compact format. Digest publications provide the same professional image quality and finishing you’ve always gotten with MagCloud, but with a trim size of 5.25″ wide by 8.25″ tall, they take up only about half the space in your bag. Plus with a cheaper price point (16 cents per page) you can stretch your budget a bit further, and get your work into the hands of even more potential customers.

The question is, how to design within this more constrained space and still highlight your work? To help you get started, we’ve listed a few ideas below…

Use Both Pages

Take full advantage of the available space with images of your work spanning both pages, and bleeding off the trim edges. If you are going to be opting for perfect binding and want to place your images across the spine, be sure to check out our tips for designing for perfect binding.

Highlight One Piece of Work Per Page

Place one image per page to create a kind of photobook. This format is particularly conducive to lookbooks for fashion collections, with each page containing one look.

Combine Images and Text Across a Spread

Make a photo of your work the focus of one page, either with a full bleed or as a contained image, and then include descriptive text on the opposing page. This way each spread focuses on one project, combining both imagery and text to tell the story of each piece of work.

Think Outside Portrait Orientation

Until we are able to offer a true landscape product, show off your work in a landscape format by rotating your content 90 degrees, such that the spine of the publication is on the top edge of the page. If you want to add some practically to your portfolio, and ensure it gets kept around for the coming year, use this rotated format to make a mini calendar, with each month highlighting a different piece of past work.

Create a Themed Booklet with a Segment of Your Work

When photographer Trey Hill learned about our new Digest format, he used it to combine a collection of his images into a photo story called Untouchable. These are images that are included as part of his larger 2010 Photography Annual, but the smaller form factor offers a more focused look at the story this series of photos tells. See for yourself how Trey has used this smaller format to tell his photo story: we’re taking 25% off the production costs on all print orders of Untouchable from now until the end of October.

Have you had a chance to experiment with our new Digest format to create your portfolio? Let us know in the comments what your design strategy has been.