The Phoenix SMUG Group welcomed Khara Plicanic, a wedding photographer from Lincoln, Nebraska. She gave an enthusiastic presentation on building a “Wickedly Fast Wedding Workflow.” Khara and her husband, Emir, just recently finished a cross-country bicycle trip, The Untour, from San Diego to Florida. While on her bike trip, she taught photography workshops in eight different cities along the way. Years of photography experience have led to the development of Khara’s workflow techniques, and she loves to share her knowledge with other photographers to help them gain quality time back into their lives. Khara is also the author of “Your Camera Loves You: Learn to Love It Back.”
Of the 23 photographers in attendance, several experienced some clear “ahhh-ha” moments as Khara revealed how simple she keeps her workflow. Khara explained that, several years ago, she was so overwhelmed with her shooting and workflowschedule, she decided it was time to get her life under control and bring simplicity to the business for both her and her clients. She was inspired by Barry Schwartz and the concepts presented in his book “The Paradox of Choice.” He says that more choices do not equal freedom, but paralysis and dissatisfaction. By using the “less is more” philosophy, she moved from a tiered product offering and began offering one package for everyone – full coverage of the wedding day (she stays until she feels she has all the images she needs and no longer bases her coverage on a time limit). Also, everyone gets an album, which she considers non-negotiable. Khara says, “Every package is a full package.”
Khara designs her albums in InDesign, uses Lightroom and Photoshop for her main workflow, Flaunt for her client slideshow, and Banti Album Proofing for her clients to see their album and communicate any changes. Her workflow is fast! On the wedding night, she downloads her photos and gets them backed up. The next day, she begins the process of picking her favorites, retouching, exporting to her blog and Facebook, creates a slideshow, designs the album, and uploads the proofs to the client gallery, all of which she gets done within a week, but often in just 8 hours! By designing the album at the same time, she is editing, she simplifies the process for her clients and considers it a part of the service they pay for. She picks out a storytelling variety of photos, making it easier for the client than if they had to start with a blank slate. Her clients have 3 weeks to make album changes (up to 2 rounds) , but she often finds they have little to change after seeing it laid out. She reminds us of how often wedding albums often get put off, delayed, or never done if left to the bride/groom to decide and mull over all the photo choices for an album.
This meeting with Khara was informative and insightful for the photographers struggling with simplifying their workflow and the basics of their business. It’s not a joke, it’s not a secret, and it’s certainly not rocket science. It’s just the potent combination of effectiveness and efficiency.
Submitted by the Phoenix SMUG Scribe: Gail Kiehlbaugh
The Fort Wayne SMUG had a fantastic hands-on photo shoot for their latest meeting. They met at a member’s house out in the country. It was just a few minutes south of Fort Wayne in Decatur, IN. The house featured a large lot that offered phenomenal country shots. There were 2 barns, an old, oddly shaped tree stump, trees, a corn field behind the lot, a stream, a fence and some old, rusty farm equipment.
We had many photographers, and we brought in 6 wonderful models that came in cowgirl themed outfits. One of our members brought their trailer, which offered a private location for the models to change outfits and get ready. We made sure we had plenty of cold water and soda to stay hydrated, since it was very hot that day.
Some photographers shot natural light, others supplemented with on camera flash, some used speedlights off camera, and a few brought their AlienBee lights with beauty dishes. For those that use PocketWizard, we were able to share our strobes with others by using the same channels.
The photo contest for the month aimed to make use of cell phone cameras and the accompanying apps. Some of us used SmugMug’s own Camera Awesome app to take and edit the shots. The winning photo for this month was taken with an iPhone 4S and is shown below.
The San Francisco SMUG welcomed their speaker of the month, Emilio Banuelos, as he discussed the aspects of documentary and street photography. Street photography requires a unique level of interaction with the subject.
Banuelos relates with those he photographs by sharing their experience. Rather than snapping a picture and walking away, he speaks with them and carefully takes the time to get the right picture. He structures his work in projects with an overlying theme about the rituals of life and the pursuit of happiness. He goes into the community and returns his work to the community.
He showed us pictures from his Greyhound America project in which he traveled to the 4 corners of the country on Greyhound buses, getting to know and photographing his fellow passengers. These are not people on vacation. They are disconnected people, traveling to a new job and or escaping from an old one, starting a new life or needing to travel inexpensively for other circumstances. He spent days eating, sleeping and talking with them, learning their stories which he translates into pictures.
He offered a few tips on improving your street photos:
- When the subject looks directly at you, the photographer becomes invisible
- Always carry your camera with you. “If you have your camera, you don’t need to go out and photograph, you just need to go out.”
- Don’t hide your camera, and you become “the photographer”
- Until someone says no, it means yes
- Avoid conflict. If you defy the police, expect to be detained
- You typically do not need a model release for editorial and art photos, but you do for commercial work
- Print out your top 15 pictures and look at them every day. Your new pictures must be that good or better
You can read the extended article on his Facebook page.