Everyone’s a Photographer These Days…

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Well at least it seems like it. I don’t know how many “photographers” there are in my surrounding area.

Fauxtographers.

When I put the word photographer in quotes I’m including the fauxtographer’s. There are quite a few definitions of the word fauxtographer. The best one I found is from Techopedia. Techopedia’s website defines it as fraudulent photography, where photographs are manipulated through Photoshop or manipulated by other means to change the information they convey. Fauxtography is often used to manipulate the viewer and promote a particular agenda.

Fauxtography is also occasionally used to refer to low-quality or humorous photographs taken by amateur photographers who have started photography businesses or blogs despite their limited experience and skill. In this sense, fauxtography is an Internet meme.

The first definition I don’t totally agree with because it says that photos are manipulated with Photoshop. I don’t know any photographers that don’t use Photoshop or another photo editor program to edit their images. Now the second definition I do agree with. I mean there is even a website dedicated to all of the fake photographers which is You are not a Photographer. It has some pretty comical photos. You have to wonder what these people are thinking! Do they really think the photo is good?! It just blows my mind.

Why Are There So Many “Photographers?

There are several reasons these days that everyone thinks they are photographers and turn it into a job. Technology is the biggest reasoning. You will read it in every blog post or article that it seems like as soon as someone gets a nice camera they can start charging people to take their photos. The gear you have does NOT make you a photographer! You can have the best, top of the line camera and lenses and still take horrible pictures. It does help to have good equipment but it sure doesn’t MAKE you a legit photographer. Another reason the rise of “photographers” has sky rocketed over the past few years is because every smartphone has a camera. Yes, sometimes you can take an awesome picture or two but still, you’re not a photography. And yep, phone photography is a thing. There are photographers that use only their phone for to do sessions in place of a DSLR camera. But again just because that new Iphone can take a good photo and you can edit it on 1 of the thousands of picture editing apps does not make you a photographer. FYI, some of those picture editing apps make the pictures look like crap.

Does it Bother Me? Well Yes…

I am not complaining about these people, don’t get me wrong. Yes, it drives me crazy that people can do the above, make a FB page, and become a photographer overnight. And yes it does bother me some. Why does it drive me crazy and bother me? Well typically these people are charging $15-$20 to do photos and “edit” the photos and hand them all over to the person they took pictures of. Who wouldn’t love to pay that amount and get EVERY photo taken! Well, the only people I can think of are those that don’t respect true photographers and the photographers behind the scenes work. It’s kind of like going to a hair stylist who ordered some scissors, combs, brushes, etc. off of Amazon and titled themselves as a hair stylist because they have the right equipment. Would you honestly go to them for your hair care? I highly doubt it. In the photography world of social media see these fauxtographers as hurting professional photographers business. I guess that can be true but then again a client who wants to pay $20 to get their pictures taken and are happy with being handed over all of the images aren’t my ideal client. I understand not everyone can afford professional photographers and that’s fine but that’s also why I offer payment plans. And I myself am not that expensive. Art is expensive, good art is really expensive. I know a lot of people would be surprised to hear that most people who are looking to have great photos of their family displayed in their home will spend between $500-$3,000 for photography products.

Educate Yourself. I Have.

From seeing these fauxtographers pictures I can only assume that they have not been to any photography workshops, taken any classes or e-courses, studied any aspect of photography, or have watched any of the many tutorials or e-course YouTube videos. This is another reason it bothers me that fauxtographers are getting business when I may not be. I have done tons of reading, studying, watching hours upon hours of videos on things from the basics to editing tutorial videos to ways to better my photography.  I spend so much time to better myself as a photographer and will work with you to get what you are envisioning in your photos so that I am giving your images 110%! I don’t cut corners and I don’t rush with my editing because I truly care about the work I am putting out there and what you are getting.

We All Had To Start Somewhere.

We all started somewhere and nobody starts out of the gate doing perfect work. I was there, I wasn’t great in the beginning. I’ve learned over time and I still am learning. And there are even times now that some sessions just don’t make the top of my list of favorites. There are lots of reason for this. The lighting may have been bad that day (amazingly enough sometimes Photoshop can’t even fix some of these cases), the client may be uncomfortable and that will definitely show in their images (even though I try to talk with them prior to their session and when we meet up for their session I’ll make small talk with them.). So if you are just starting just do some studying, watch some videos, ask to intern with a photographer you admire in your area or contact them to ask questions. I will warn you their are some photographers who are secretive about their craft but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

There is so much more I could say so I may do a follow up or a part 2 on this subject.

Below are a few photos from You are not a Photographer for you viewing pleasure, =). Would you really hire these people??

floating-headWhy is there a head in the sky…just why?!?!

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There is too much going on in this image. And her eyes!

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This is when you should NOT be using Photoshop. Again, too much going on and why?!

Be sure to check out the entire website for some laughs! Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment your thoughts.

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Check out these Event Products!

Look at all of this stuff in these pictures!! They can be created by me, with your help of course to make it YOUR way! The items you see in the pictures are RSVP cards, Invitations, Save the Dates, Return Labels & Address Labels, Thank You Cards, and Christmas Cards! There are so many other sets for different events from Baby Showers to Senior Open House to Baby Announcements! The possibilities and designs are endless! If you are interested in any of these items or others please contact me! *Please note, the designs shown below are not all of the designs carried. They are just a few of the many designs.

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Photography Products

I am now offering more than just prints! I am offering different photography products for you to display your photos! I will list them along with a description of them and some images.

Gallery Wraps

Gallery Wraps are a way to turn any photo into a work of art. If you’re looking for a quality Gallery Wrap, without anything fancy such as a laminate, or hanging options, our Gallery Wraps are the perfect solution. These Gallery Wraps are finished with saw tooth hangers and corner bumpers without any paper backing.

PicMonkey Collage

 

Barnwood Frames

Add charm by displaying a special image in a genuine Barnwood Frame. From vintage themed weddings, to milestone moments, WHCC’s Barnwood Frames create natural warmth in one’s home.  Reveal your beautiful story with a frame that has a beautiful past. Handcrafted in Minnesota, these frames are built using reclaimed wood from old barns. Our standard Barnwood Frame arrive fully assembled complete with craft paper backing, a wire hanger and a ‘Minnesota Made’ stamp on the back.

PicMonkey Collage

Float Wraps

Float Wraps are built to grab attention. WHCC takes your photographic or canvas print and wrap it around padded masonite, then coat it with a protective laminate for a sleek, elegant look. It’s black paper backing and thick gatorboard block with holes allows the image to hang extended from the wall, giving the appearance that your image is floating.

PicMonkey Collage

Wood Prints

Give your prints a natural look with your image printed on real maple wood. The beauty of the grain comes through on the lighter colors and white areas of your image giving it a soft and warm feel. Clients will love its eco-friendly durability along with the vibrancy of their images. Wood Prints are finished with a protective laminate. These arrive ready to hang with a pre-cut keyhole. Please be aware that the wood printing process is different from WHCC’s photographic printing process. Due to the nature of the maple wood, no two boards will look exactly alike. Each print will be unique and one of a kind. Pair your favorite outdoor, natural light image with the latest trend of printing on wood, from newborn babies to beautiful outdoor weddings. It will make a great addition and conversation piece in your client’s home.

PicMonkey Collage

Metal Prints

The brilliance of WHCC’s Metal Prints is unparalleled! Using an innovative dye sublimation process, your custom images are printed directly onto high quality aluminum for a clean and lasting finish. WHCC’s Metal Prints show off vibrant colors in a way no other medium can. Your most captivating shots take on life-like depth and dimension for an impressive display that stands the test of time. Metal Prints give your home décor an ultra-modern feel. Brighten up any workspace with sleek, stylish, contemporary art. Create breathtaking scenes in a studio or gallery space. No matter where they are displayed, Metal Prints will steal the show!

PicMonkey Collage

Albums

Celebrate the chapters in life that mean the most to your clients with our exquisite and surprisingly affordable Albums. Each client has their own story to tell, and every Album can be customized to tell it. WHCC’s Albums beautifully chronicle your client’s wedding day so they can remember every detail for years to come. Baby’s first year goes by fast. An Album makes a cherished keepsake for all the precious moments and milestones along the way. Clients love our high-end Albums for commemorating Graduations, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Anniversaries, and all of life’s big events. With our attractive price-points and so many sizes and styles to choose from, you can make any photo shoot into an Album-worthy event! Our Albums provide an upscale and creative way to compile photos in one place and enhance the imagery with your own layout and design. WHCC’s full-page Album spreads are mounted to substantial cardstock for thick pages that lay flat. Each turn of the page is a new opportunity to create a storyboard or collage. Or fill an entire spread with that one image that is worth a thousand words! Our Albums provide a durable and stylish keepsake that will stand the test of time and keep your clients’ special memories vivid.

My Etsy Shop! Let’s Get Things Rolling!

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Hello everyone! I have been very busy starting an Etsy shop, reading all the tips and tricks I can find, and learning all the stuff I need to know to get a bigger reach and become better. I sold my first print in February and that sale kick started my Etsy obsession of getting everything in place and learning all I possibly can. I am selling my photography prints, mostly the nature and abstract photos. As of now I am offering six different print sizes: 8×10, 11×14, 16×20, 16×24, 20×30, and 30×40. I also offer custom orders which means that if you want a picture of something within reason that you would like to have as wall art in your home or you would think would fit a theme you have going in either a room in your home or your home in general you can contact me and I can try my hardest to get a picture of your vision and create something. I plan to offer digital downloads for all pictures so that customers can print the photo and use it for whatever reason they need. Some of the reasons I have seen customers purchase from other Etsy shops digital downloads is to use them for invitations, cards, etc. I also plan to offer framing for the photos in the near future. I am thinking of offering different types of wood since my Dad makes custom handmade clocks, jewelry boxes, and other items and has knowledge of that type of thing. His Facebook business page is called “The Time is Now”. You should definitely go check it out! He has some items in stock and you can contact him with an idea or even work with him on what you are looking for. If you are good at sketching you can sketch your idea and he can go off of your sketch and sketch something and more than likely bring whatever you are imagining to life. You can also contact him and tell him what you are wanting and he can sketch what you describe to him and try to bring it to life.

Okay so back to what I am doing! Other than offering digital downloads and framing options I will offer other photography products such as gallery wraps, floating wraps, metal prints, etc. The products are endless! It just takes a lot of time to get ALL of that listed on the store.

Just like with my photography businesses there are times that I feel like I won’t ever get anywhere and the one sale I made back in February will the only one I ever make. I seem to be the type of person that wants instant gratification and I just have to remind myself that with my photography businesses I did not book up a month over night. It took a good year and a half to REALLY start booking.

I plan to do more advertising on social media sites once I have gotten my Etsy shop a little more “stocked”. But as always the biggest and best advertising method is word of mouth and when people share my work and help get my Etsy store name and link out there. So now to me asking for your help! =) If you would please share my Etsy store I would greatly appreciate it. I plan to do a contest or giveaway on a social media site I use for my photography businesses (so make sure you are following my photography social media accounts!) to get some more traffic on my Etsy shop. I am also posting all of my photos for purchase or that will be available on my Etsy Shop on a Pinterest Board. The Pinterest Board is Kirsten Ray Photos. Make sure you follow it as I’m still adding photos because it’s going to take me quite a bit of time to upload all I have available. So be sure to share the Pinterest Board or re-pin pins from the board to help me gain some new followers and hopefully soon to be customers as I get it running a bit more. And as always I will give an incentive for helping me out!

You can visit my Etsy Shop, Kirsten Ray Photos . Of course sharing my Etsy shop is encouraged! I will be able to see my followers so again incentives will be given as a thank you!

 

Kirsten Ray

Right and Wrong Clients

Amazingly enough there is a right and wrong client for every photographer. And I have found that out many times but just didn’t know that is what you would call it. You see I don’t wake up everyday and think I’m a great photographer, usually my thoughts are can my son get himself to school on his own today? But really, there are so many days where I feel like I’m not good enough. Any photographer who doesn’t feel that way every now and then I would have to say is on a high horse. But if they don’t feel that way more power to them. I run a business, I make money from this business, I use the money for things I need. It’s just like any of your other 9-5 jobs but it’s a lot more work because once you’re done shooting you are so far from done it’s not even funny(I hate that saying, makes no sense). I know I’ve said this before but not only does leaving your home to shoot the client take time away from your family and social life but the sitting at your computer and looking over every picture, choosing the best ones, correcting the lighting, fixing things, and further editing really takes away from your family and social life. So it’s not a one and done thing. What I’m getting at is the right client for you will admire and like(hopefully love) your work, hire you, pay the price, purchase the prints and/or products and that’s it. The wrong client will make the excuses I can’t pay that right now, this and this and this isn’t working, I don’t have the time. Here’s the thing, most photographers have their pricing on their website or somewhere and it takes a few clicks to find that. If you can not commit to those prices please move on and don’t waste the time of the photographer and all the work there is beforehand(yes, there is even work before the shoot) just to have an excuse. I understand money is tight but if it is then don’t inquire about a session unless you can commit at that time or in the near future.And please don’t try to get a discount. Many photographers run specials but you can’t always bet on those specials so don’t wait. I feel like the right client will book a session and even take advantage of whatever special you are having. A photographer could eventually see the trend of clients swarming them only when specials occur and potentially stop doing specials all together because they feel like they are just being “used” when there is a discount price. Again, I understand the money issue but talk to your photographer about a payment plan, most will do those for you. Don’t just tell the photographer some excuse because then you don’t seem like the right kind of client and surprisingly photographers do communicate with each other. These trends could also make a photographer turn down a client, and yes it’s happened. I don’t intend any of this to sound rude but photographers aren’t in this business for the fun of it. I mean it is very fun but they also do it to make money.

2018 Senior Rep Program (uncensored)

I shoot many different types of sessions and seniors is definitely one of my favorite sessions to shoot. Now as if photography is not already competitive enough Senior Rep Programs seem to be very competitive. I had earlier in the month put out my Senior Rep program and had made some changes from the last years program. I’m here to be honest so I had quite a few applicants and all was ready to go then I had a few girls back out. There was one that decided to go with another photographer even. There are days when I feel like I’m not good enough as a photographer and question if I should keep running my photography business but this incident really threw me for a loop and honestly hurt my feelings and I was a little depressed about it. I know that what a Senior receives is a big thing in deciding which photographer they want to work with and I know that the incentives that are given in return for the number of referrals is also a big factor. I have done my research and I found that some photographers offer money or gift cards. I personally can not offer that. I am not financially stable enough and also not a big enough photography company where I can pay senior for referrals. I mean this is still a business and I have to make money from it.

I wanted to write this blog post a few weeks ago because I kept having thoughts pop into my head as I was designing my program so the rest of this blog may be some rambling but I’m also going to describe my program and add on some reasoning or other stuff with it. So I offer a session that is 2-3 hours, to be honest I don’t keep track of time and if I don’t have another session following the one I’m working on I usually go over especially if the subject I am shooting is rocking their session. But once I feel like I have what I want and a large number of images I usually call it good. For this session I am charging $75 which is half off the regular price. I have started a new thing this year that with sessions you must buy prints through me but for senior reps I am giving the senior 5 digital images for them to upload to their computer and put on a CD or USB drive. So there is another thing I am saving you money on is not having you pay more for prints. Of course their are special photo items that can still be purchased through me. There are some photographers that only allow a certain number of outfits but I allow unlimited outfits because let’s face it us women have a hard time deciding, lol. Another big plus in my eyes is that if your immediate family needs family pictures done for example they will get 20% off the session. That is my way of thanking the guardian(s) for allowing their senior to be a part of my photography business and help me in getting my business out there and supporting me. Something completely new that I am doing is I am going to find someone to video portions of the shoot so they will be featured in a “behind the scenes” type video. Depending on the number of referrals each senior gets they will be able to get their hair and makeup done discounted or free. I will also have that part videoed too. The Senior with the most referrals will get a 2-3 hour Best Friends Pamper/Shoot day. I will have someone come and do their nails, hair, and makeup completely free. I will be photographing this just as they would as I do with weddings. I’ll also have this part videoed. In all honesty as I said I’ve never done the video thing so hopefully it will work out. The image I have in my head for it is awesome! For the Best Friends shoot they will have unlimited outfits and we will go to several different locations. I usually have an idea of the locations and they are always close to home.

If possible I would also like to have everyone agree on a date and do a trip to one of the waterfalls in Indiana and do some individual and group shots. But this is just an idea. And I may think of more fun ideas and extra incentives along the way.

I have a secret FB group for those that have been chosen to keep everyone updated and on track. I think this helps versus having to msg or email each senior rep and guardian. The reps can always throw ideas out there and post examples of images that they think would be fun.

All I really ask is that the cost is paid, of course and that each Senior Rep uses only me and represents/advertises for me. I mean if they are promoting another photographer along w/ me that doesn’t really help me when I’m giving them a discounted session. I see it as a give and take experience.

I definitely didn’t cover everything but I think that this all is a pretty good deal, affordable, and fun. It may not be the top of the line Senior Rep Program but I try my best and hope that those who are or will be Senior Reps for me enjoy their shoots w/ me and come back as repeat customers.

So in ending this blog thank you to those who have been accepted and will be working w/ me. And anyone who is interested in becoming a Senior Rep for Kirsten Ray Photography will fill out an application. Also, if you know anyone that is a junior and would be a great fit for this please send them my way. If they become a Senior Rep for me I will give you 20% off a session or print order as my way of saying thank you!

Kirsten Ray