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Rebookü: The album design answer you’ve been looking for.

Logo for the album design company rebookuThe following is a sponsored post from rebookü album design. It is written by Ty Fischer a Springfield, Ohio photographer specializing in senior portraits. Today marks the official launch of rebookü!

Overcoming the workflow crush

As a high school senior photographer, one of my main goals is always looking for new ways to cut the amount of time I spend at the computer and increase time spent behind the camera. Though our company is very efficient with retouch and editing, what has become an increasingly larger issue for us is book and album design.

One of our largest selling items to our senior clients is our coffee table books. Even with the aid of pre-designed templates, I still find it takes me at least an hour to insert my client’s images into the templates before uploading to the lab. During our busy season I commit 15-20 hours a week to album and book design.

I knew I couldn’t be the only one dealing with this time-consuming problem, so I began reaching out to several of my photography friends around the country. I wasn’t alone. Many other professional photographers are also having the same problems, or worse yet, they aren’t able to offer albums to clients due to the amount of design time involved.

Shortly after our new-found discoveries, my wife Shannon and I began looking at ways to make not only our life easier, but photographers from around the country lives’ less stressful.

Introducing rebookü…

From this insight, rebookü was born. Rebookü, pronounced ree-boo-koo, stands for retouch and books for you! This is the first company of its kind to be targeted specifically to high school senior photographers.

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Creativity takes time.

Bath time!

I have a confession to make. I take baths. Every day.

Let me explain. Our house has 2 claw foot tubs. Cool, but not the best set up to shower. One of the tubs doesn’t even have a shower (well, it has a handheld shower). The other tub has a stand-up shower, but it is really tight. The claustrophobic comes out in me when I use it.

So, I have resigned to taking baths. Every day.

The upside of a bath.

My most creative time of the day is in the bath tub

Now that I have effectively ruined my manhood for many of you, let me tell you the one great thing about baths.

They take time.

It’s hard to slip into a warm bath and hurry through it. You sit down and instantly relax. So, while I’m sitting in the tub, my mind wanders, and I think. I get creative.

In fact, I find that my most creative time of the day – in the form of brainstorming and creating plans to take over the world – happen while I’m sitting in the bathtub.

I wrote most of this post in my head as I was in the bathtub this morning. Let me share with you how this process works.

Creativity takes time…3 steps.

I go through three initial steps to make an idea come to reality. They are basic, and you probably do the same, but I think it’s really important to map out what works. This will help you develop an idea when it’s hard to come up with something concrete.

1. Quiet + Time

The thing about the bath for me is that it forces me to take time. I spend at least 10-15 minutes there, usually more. The bathtub is in an open space in our bedroom, so it’s not always quiet.

I am  able to be much more creative when I’m alone, and it is quiet. For you to be creative you need time. You also need quiet. Quiet from sound, but also quiet from technology.

You may be the kind of person that needs to talk through an idea out loud, Kia is this type of person. However, you still need short periods of quiet to allow your mind to relax and meditate.

2. Write it  down.

A great idea is worthless if I don’t remember it. So, as soon as I’m out of the bath I write it down. Most of the time I physically write it down on a sticky note, and occasionally I’ll write directly into Evernote.

To be creative you need quiet time and more.

I know some people may say it would be better to have a pad of paper to write them down immediately, but I really like the time to let the ideas play out. This let’s my mind wander from point A to B to C to anywhere it wants to go. No pressure.

3. Take action.

This is the hardest part – doing something with what you’ve dreamed up and written down.

I’m great at following through and doing something with an idea for a post on The Collective (point in case…what you’re reading now). I’m not always great at taking action on other ideas.

I recently had an idea for a podcast I would like to start. I came up with the idea, I wrote it down (looking at the note on my desk now), I’ve even done a bit of research. There doesn’t seem to be much available with the idea I have, yet I still haven’t done much with it.

I great idea is nothing if you don’t take action…all the way through.

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3 Must use tools (that tie into Evernote)

Evernote is my favorite tool.

I have talked about Evernote here multiple times. There are so many reasons why I both love and talk about it so much. Here are just 4 of the reasons:

  1. It works across all platforms (online, Mac/PC desktop, iPhone, iPad, Android).
  2. It keeps me organized (to-do lists, goals, ideas, thoughts, notes)
  3. It holds various forms of media (text, images, audio).
  4. It’s free.

I love Evernote so much, I am willing to look more in-depth at programs claiming to integrate with Evernote. Recently, I discovered 3 apps that fit perfectly with Evernote. If you use Evernote (or even if you don’t), I highly suggest taking a look at these applications.

Postbox

I am a Mac guy. I’m Mac across the board (phone, tablet, computer). However, I have grown disenchanted with the default “Mail” program for a while.

I recently read an article about the Postbox email app available online. What caught my eye was a handy little button that exports an email directly to Evernote with one simple click. After having used the program for about a month now, I’ve grown to love even more about it. Here are 3 examples:  Continue Reading →

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7 easy steps to turn your logo into a Photoshop brush

Help! I spend too much time in Photoshop.

After years of working in Photoshop, I am not an expert in saving time. I play way too much, and that’s how I like it!

I can, however, explain some tricks that will make your life a little easier. One of the questions I get asked most often is how to make your logo into a brush. It’s our studio policy to put our logo and website on all web images. Hopefully this quick tutorial will be as useful for you as it is for me!

Step 1

Shelley Harrington on how to build a logo brush

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Making your website work for you.

This is the first of a series of articles by Ken Kneringer on making your website work for you. Another great resource is a recent article on The Collective – 10 ways to improve your website by Nancy Nardi.

The functions of your website.

A website is practically worthless unless it performs certain functions for a business or person. So this month we are going to define the functions.

Most photographers would think that the primary task of a website is to show images to prospective clients – it couldn’t be further from the truth!

Function #1 – Be seen.

First and foremost a website has to be able to be seen by your target audience. Imagine you take the very best photos in the world, then stick them all in a drawer in your desk. Your target audience will never see these amazing photos, much like a website that isn’t set up to be found!

Function #2 – Brand.

So the second most important thing is to showcase photos correct? Nope – the second most important function is to showcase your brand. Photos can be part of this function, but it is important that your website is an extension of your brand. This is the first time that your client is able to “touch you”, make sure you present to them the brand that they will be touching throughout the experience at your studio.

Function #3 – Be different.

The third thing is photos right? No again – in my opinion the next most important thing is to be different than your competition! This should be part of your brand, but if it isn’t – you do NOT want your website to look like the others in your area. It is common for photographers to use templates, with black, white, or gray backgrounds. Look at your website from the consumers point of view – if I see 10 websites, all with black backgrounds all looking very much the same – I am now shopping on price!

Function #4 – Call to action.

Fourth? Not exactly, but close. This is the one that many photographers fail to do on a website – call to action! A website is worthless if it doesn’t convert visitors to clients!

After everything above has been done – you have been found in a search, you have presented your brand, you took a stand and made your site look different then the guy down the street – now you NEED that potential client to call your studio and book! Make sure that you TELL your potential clients what to do! Call NOW – Email Me, whatever, and give them the tools to make contact and to share your website with others.

Function #5 – Great images!

Fifth? Okay as part of making the client want to do business with you, as a photographer your images have to rock. But without the structure above, rocking images can’t do the tasks required by a website all by themselves.

Don’t be that guy…

image by Ken Kneringer for The Collective blogWe will be talking about this and other subjects in the coming months. On a closing note some NOT TO DO’S!

Don’t copy material/text/style/code from someone else’s website! It is tacky, you can only make enemies, it is copyrighted, but more importantly Google frowns on duplicate content and will penalize the offending site by driving down their ranking! – if you are creative enough to be a photographer – be creative and write your own material!

Don’t put up too many images – 10 awesome images are better than 30 average ones, 5 images that rock AND fit your brand – priceless!

Don’t do a flash only website – it is too restrictive for search engines to find you. You can use flash – just make sure you have html surrounding it.

Don’t have anyone else host your website or blog, this is something that you need to do yourself. For example don’t use wordpress.org for your blog, install wordpress on your own domain – it fast, easy, and better for you in the long run!

See you in a month (or so).

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