Q+A with Merritt Design’s Jennifer Koskinen

No sooner did Jennifer Koskinen begin using MagCloud to showcase her architectural photography work than she found herself designing MagCloud magazines for her clients, too – quickly parlaying her architectural firm into a photography and graphic design boutique. In fact, MagCloud was a source of inspiration for transforming her architectural skills into graphic design skills.

“I love the creativity of designing photographs and then thinking of how to best present them,” Koskinen says. “MagCloud makes it easy and affordable to experiment with design ideas and try new things.”

  How did your architecture work lead to your new career in photography?

Jennifer Koskinen I fell in love with photography when I got my first camera in the eighth grade. But I’d never considered working as a photographer. I pursued a career in architecture, instead.

After a few years of design work, my firm hired me to shoot scouting photos of one of our projects in pursuit of publication. So I submitted my photographs to a magazine, thinking they’d send their own photographer to reshoot them.

The magazine loved what I sent and wanted to publish them. It was just the validation I needed to start shooting more, and soon I realized that I felt more creative photographing architecture than designing it. I absolutely love photography! It’s hard to believe that I get to do this for a living!

  How did MagCloud inspire you in your graphic design business?

JK I started creating my own magazines with MagCloud to give to existing and potential clients. Everyone loved them, right from the start, and wanted me to design magazines for them, too. I’ve created eight MagCloud magazines so far for other architects, builders, chefs, jewelry designers and so forth, with two more in the works. My clients in turn use the magazines to market their work, which makes for fabulous co-marketing for all of us!

  How did you get started publishing through MagCloud?

JK I’d been interested in self-publishing in general, but could find solutions only for books. When I came across MagCloud, I was immediately excited. The first thing I designed was a magazine for my architectural photography. The magazine format was intriguing, so I even wrote stories and included advertisements for some of my clients.

  How has MagCloud made a difference?

JK Next to my website, distributing my MagCloud magazines to potential clients is the most important thing I can do to attract business. I love the reaction that I get from people when I hand them out. People visibly respond to something they can hold in their hands and flip through at their own pace. I see them feel the paper and the weight of it. The pages hold the color so well. It’s one thing to see my images on a computer monitor – it’s nice to see them in print, too.

There’s nothing else out there that beats the quality and the price point better than these magazines. They’re invaluable, and they give my business credibility. There’s no doubt that my sales have dramatically increased because of MagCloud.

  What tips would you give to someone new to self-publishing?

JK Dive in. When I set out to design something, I look at things I love, study graphical trends, fonts, proportions – even white space and how it’s used. It’s really fun to play with, and MagCloud’s templates make everything so easy. I recommend studying what you like and then creating something that’s your own, including things you’ve noticed and like in other people’s designs. Have fun and try things you’ve never done.

  If your publication were a superhero, who would it be?

JK Pixelgirl! She’s a stylish superhero who can fly – cameras in tow – from location to location, harnessing her amazing powers of composition and her ability to capture the most dynamic subjects in the most beautiful light. And she gets home in time to cook dinner for her son!

Publishers in Their Own Words: Mike Lesnick Photography

My name is Mike Lesnick, I am the owner and photographer of Mike Lesnick Photography. I use MagCloud to make my brochure/portfolio available to all past and future clients. It’s a great way for me to have my information readily available to everyone.

I created my brochure so that anyone could see a sample of my work, pricing and little snippets about myself and the weddings I have photographed. With my brochure I have made an impact on brides and grooms with my neatly presented work, pictures and lay out. My latest brochure was updated to include all pictures from this past wedding season (2011) as well as full-page spreads of previous weddings I have photographed.

MagCloud has provided me with the most cost-effective way to  distribute and manage my brochures; as well as providing the print quality that as a wedding photographer I expect and need to present my work in a manner that I feel is professional. Thanks so much MagCloud, keep up the good work!

Mike Lesnick, Owner/Photographer, Mike Lesnick Photography

Visit Mike’s website to learn more about his work or preview his work on MagCloud.

Publishers In Their Own Words: Merritt Design Photo

I love when January comes and I can take a moment to dream up new strategies for my small business in the coming year.  For 2012, I made a decision to crank things up a notch with a new creative marketing strategy for my wedding photography business, which had previously been promoted solely “word of mouth.”  I had used MagCloud before and knew that it offered an excellent solution to get started with a custom-designed, high impact product that I could print affordably enough to leave after meetings with wedding coordinators, and even send to begin a dialogue and make a lasting impression with potential clients.

For my first Weddings issue, MagCloud’s format, quality and great price-point give me ample space to share insights into my personal approach to wedding photography; what clients can expect from the experience of working together; some information about packages; and finally, plenty of space for rich color photographs to jump off the pages. Because I can design the whole issue myself, it is the perfect product to give a sense of my personality and style — hopefully enough to inspire people to want to learn more!

I am proud to share this gorgeous, stand-out marketing piece with potential clients; in the first few showings alone, the response has been overwhelming! I’m so excited to be working with MagCloud and I already can’t wait to create my next magazines!

Jennifer Koskinen, Owner/Photographer, Merritt Design Photo

Visit Jennifer’s website to learn more about here work or preview her work on MagCloud.

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.