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An Open Letter to David Trust and PPA About SOPA

27 January

Dear David,

In light of your email to PPA members today about SOPA and PIPA, I’d like to speak to a couple of the things you addressed.  More specifically the actions that internet users were using “heavy-handed tactics” in order to spread “false information.” And what is being presented to the public as to what those bills would actually do.

Before any of that, I’d like to say that, I’m a photographer and I care about the protection of my images just as much as anyone. And I do believe that there is a solution out there to accomplish that protection. I completely disagree that that this was the way to do it.

So on to it…

The Internet is one of our sacred gems. It has no borders, we don’t need passports to visit our friends with tools like Skype, iChat, etc. And there is an innate freedom that exists there. For someone to restrict that freedom is something that will cause people to rise up against that threat.

Copyright is not, as you incorrectly attribute Google and Wikipedia with saying, censorship. But the practice of blocking of sites to viewers is.

Consider these scenarios:

  1. You’d like to visit someone’s house, but police prevent you from entering because there is a bomb in the house.
  2. You’d like to visit someone’s house, but police prevent you from entering because the person {may have} stolen something.  *Thanks to Nathan Johns @Austin_Photog for adding “may have” above since due process is diminished in these laws.

While the first scenario, authorities are protecting your interests (living and all that), the second is something on the lines of Marshall Law. Stripping the freedom from internet users is just that, stripping freedom.

To be clear there are countries that do restrict access, China, Burma, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, and a few more. I don’t think we want to end up in that list. It starts with blocking a few sites, but who decides what sites are Kosher, and what aren’t? It’s too much power for any one person, or group of people to possess when our freedom is on the line.

I’m fully supportive in a bill that actually targets the perpetrators. But this is something that must be fully thought out, and will involve working with other countries in order to achieve. The target should be the Copyright violators, and not the restriction of people’s internet access.

You should also note that the majority of photorgaphers I speak with, including rather heavy hitters in the industry, and many PPA members, have consciously opposed both SOPA and PIPA. This would point to a clear contradiction in how PPA represents member’s interests. They all understand that freedom is more important than ©.


William Bay



Both Trey Ratcliff @treyratcliff and Scott Bourne @ScottBourne have come out and spoken against PPA’s support in SOPA and PIPA.

From Trey: “Infuriating! The Professional Photographers of America say crazy things in their latest email about SOPA!”
From Scott: “Sorry @OurPPA your positon in favor of #SOPA has just established you as utterly out of touch. You may be well intentioned but you’re wrong!”

Let PPA know how you feel.

PPA members can go here: and add your comments below David Trust’s letter letting him know that PPA does not have their members interest at heart in this case.

Also write to their Twitter account @OurPPA and let them know what you think.

Two Bright Lights Partnership

25 January

I’m very pleased to announce that Two Bright Lights, have generously offered all Flaunt Your Site SEO clients a 20% discount on their services. It’s essentially 2 free months of Two Bright Lights.

If you’re not familiar with them, you totally should be. Two Bright Lights takes all the heavy work out of submitting to all the great blogs out there like Style Me Pretty, June Bug, Grey Likes, and all the other popular wedding blogs out there. In addition, they are constantly working to get other photo blogs in the mix, like maternity, baby, and lifestyles.

We all know that getting great links from editorial blog posts from high authority sites like these will skyrocket your sites in search rankings. That’s exactly why we created this partnership.

If you’re a current client, we’ll be delivering a coupon code, and for new clients the code will be in your SEO Action Plan.

3 SEO Things to Focus on in 2012 for Photographers

20 January

3 SEO things for photographers to focus on in 2012

Despite having a rather heavy first half of the month, I wanted to write up a post that would point to a few easy areas photographers could focus their efforts this year.

I’ll assume you already have the following handled:

  • Having an HTML based site that search engines can crawl, and plenty of good naturally written content.
  • A solid grasp of what keywords you’re seeking to rank for.
  • Healthy links that come from a variety of locations like blog comments, quality directories (not the paid or reciprocal ones), and most importantly editorial links from blog features and write ups.
  • Engagement through Facebook and Twitter.
You should have all those done already. The following is the next level and it will be a big focus in 2012.

1. Pinterest

2012 will be the Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese (I was born Year of the Dragon, so that’s good. I think…). But it most certainly will be the Year of Pinterest to the rest of us trying to promote our photography businesses.

The marketing adage is to go where your demographic goes. And you can’t get much better demographics for brides than 20-30 year old crafty hipster chics pinning away on Pinterest. They all like bowtie wearing men, and those mason jars that everyone seems to love.
All kidding aside the average Pinterest user is likely to be female and interested in unique designs and good photography. Not only should your website make it easy for people to pin your photos, you should have an account on there and be connected to all those hipster chics so they can see your latest and greatest photos.

Why else you should be using it:

How it will affect your SEO:
Directly it will affect your SEO by having a very powerful site linking back to yours with multiple
How to take advantage of Pinterest:
Well, if you haven’t, you should definitely use our Pin It On Pinterest WordPress plugin. It was the first plugin out there and it is by far the best. And the 1.0 version we’re planning to come out soon will be even better.
Get that plugin installed and let people start pinning your photos online. There already great sites out there that are receiving a huge amount of traffic from their content that has been pinned already.

2. Google +

OK, I’ll admit it. I waited awhile to adopt this one. Part of it was that I just didn’t want to hop on another hype without really seeing where it would go. Both Google’s Buzz and Wave were flops, and I had no interest in spending time on something that could have easily vanished.

As it turns out, Google + has become quite a hit, with features like group video chats and the ability to separate friends into unique circles so certain people can see certain things with greater ease than Facebook and Twitter. It looks like it has some great potential for the future as well. Not only is it getting the “thumbs up” from users, but it appears as if 2012 will see a big push for integrating Google + into your everyday search results.

Social Search

People with Google + profiles and business pages will become much easier for Google to vet. And websites that are tied to that profile will have a definite advantage. Connections  on Google+ will yield results on searches with your friends profile pictures on the search results making them stand out more.




You’re Circles of friends will be a huge endorser of your business by sharing your website on Google + and using the Plus 1 function on your website. Their friends will see that you are being endorsed by them, and you’ll have an instant recommendation.


One of the cooler things that Google has rolled out is the Rel=Author tag. It’s still in the early stages and not everyone is able to see the benefits of it. But it’s intent is to have rich snippets show up next to blog posts and articles that you write based on your Google + profile picture.


Early Adoption is Key

These two features may not seem that big of a deal, but anytime you can get a little advantage in the SERPs, you should take it. If you were in the #3 position, you could potentially get more clicks to your site over the #1 position, simply by having that Rel=Author tag applied. Just imagine what that will do for your longtail traffic searches. You’ll definitely have a leg up on your competitors if you implement this early on. Eventually all the themes will catch on, and add these features, so it’s best to be leading the pack and get in quick.

3. Local Search

Local Search isn’t new, but the prominence of Local will increase. We’ve seen a few variations of how search results have been displayed, but where things seem to be settling lately is the Universal Search Result, which displays a mix of Local and Organic results. You can see in the screen grab below how the organic and Local results are co-mingling together.

The first 2 results are organic, but the next 3, including one of our clients Tall and Small Photography from Bloomington, are for their Google Places listings.


Optimize for local and organic

Things that you would normally do for organic are very important, but there are a few things that will improve the likelyhood that you will make it into the local results as well.

  • Reviews! Make sure that you are getting reviews on your Google Place page, Yelp!, Wedding Wire, etc.
  • Citations. The more evidence that you are a legitimate business the more evidence Google has to promote you as a fully vetted business. Flaunt Your Site has a solution to speed up the process of obtaining the necessary citations. See our Local SEO section for more information and contact us to get set up.
  • Ensure that you fill out your Google Places page completely, upload photos and videos, have your hours available, and don’t to skip the services provided part.

Get crackin! 2012 already started.

The first thing you should do is add me on Google +. Then get out there and start engaging. The sooner you jump on the newer things, the more advantage you’ll have over your competition.

Pinterest Plugin Update Suggestions

19 January

Hello Pinners,

I’d like to thank you all for the great things you’ve shared with us about the Pin It On Pinterest plugin. We love the product and we want to continue to make it a better one. We also know there is an issue for a small percentage of people who can’t use it, and we’ll be getting to the bottom of that and fixing it.

I just spoke with Jamie Swanson at The Modern Tog and we put together a wishlist of what will be in the next one. We’re super excited about it, but we’d like to hear from you as well. The next version will be a full 1.0 version, so we want it to be robust and ready for primetime.

Tell us what features you’d like to see in the next update below in the comments. They may not make it, but we will read all of them, and it will give us a really good idea of how you want to use it.

Thanks so much and keep Pinning!

Teresa Klostermann – Design Client Spotlight

04 January

It’s always a thrill to create a new design for a client. Sacramento Wedding Photographer, Teresa Klostermann was no exception. She came to Flaunt Your Site with a few ideas in mind to give her site a makeover. It was close to what she wanted, but it was just lacking a little “curb appeal” so we did what they do on those makeover shows (well we didn’t film me sitting on my butt in front of my computer for a week playing in CSS). Based on the screen shot below I think it was a hit.

Teresa’s site started off with a very snow white WordPress theme that lacked visual depth. It was like a Mondrian painting. White on White. So the first step was to create some three dimensionality and give the site a certain pop. I started with a standard wedding pattern, but created an overlay to darken it. That would isolate the central area of the site and have people’s eyes drawn top the photos in the center.

We ditched her BluDomain site (which I highly recommend to anyone that uses BluDomain), and switched it out to a very iPad loving javascript portfolio. Now if one the 40 million iPad owners happen to be a bride in Sacramento, they’ll be able to look at Teresa’s wedding portfolio without a problem. We also added a few SEO goodies which should help her start to raise up in the ranks.

It was awesome to work with Teresa. She’s got a great passion for photography and it really shows. You should definitely go give her site some love.

Rounded Corners for Photos – CSS Only Trick

03 January

I’ve designed websites for awhile now. And one thing that’s always vexed me is getting rounded corners on JPEGs to look good. In the past I’ve used clipping masks in Photoshop, and having the background color of the Photoshop canvas match the background color of the website. But the JPEG process always shifts the color of the background color and adds artifacts due to the compression process.
As you can see in the example image (taken from a quick design I did for The Unveiled) , the background color in this instance is a very light pale gray, but the triangular area where the image was clipped is a darker shade that clearly stands out.
The other problem comes when you want to change the background color of the site. If it’s visible now, what’s it going to look like when you change the background color to your favorite shade of Fuschia?

Transparent PNGs

Transparent PNGs came along and with the exception of Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8, gave web designers the beautiful new ability to take graphics and apply different levels of opacity and transparencies.
The best use of this was applying drop shadows to graphics that appeared over multiple elements. Before this, you’d have to combine all elements into one graphic along with the shadow.
This new alpha transparency allowed great flexibility in design including creating shapes and corners that had transparency.

Perfect for what we want right???   Well…

The problem with Transparent PNGs is that they are HUGE. While they work very well for graphics like logos, and design elements that aren’t large file size wise to start, they are terrible for photographs. A 800×600 pixel photo saved as a PNG with alpha transparency is around 800k! Almost a full Megabyte. When the same size file as a JPEG is around 100k, it’s just not practical to save photos as PNGs.

So how does a brother get a decent rounded corner for his photos up in here???

CSS Border Radius to the Rescue!

London Wedding Photographer, Kat Forsyth brought up a question about adding rounded corners to her photos in a photo forum I belong to. I explained to her the options that she had, which equated to the long diatribe above.

But… on a hunch I tried applying the CSS “border-radius” rule to a photo. And it worked!
This as far as I know has never been tried, nor documented.

If you apply this to any image or image class, that image, or the whole image class will take on rounded corners!
border:1px solid #;
-webkit-border-radius: 20px;
-moz-border-radius: 20px;
border-radius: 20px;  


The images below belong to New York Wedding Photographer, Otto Shulze. He graciously let me use a couple images to demonstrate the CSS border radius trick. The image on the left is a standard image. The image on the right ad the highlighted code applied to it using inline CSS (that means I applied to it inside the HTML, not in the CSS file – it just made it easier to demonstrate this).

 How to apply to blog images

The true power in this comes from the ability to apply the same radius to all your photos on your blog posts from one place!  If you want all your photos to have a 15 pixel radius, you only need to change or add one CSS rule, and voila. They’re all changed instantly.

In your CSS file, add this rule somewhere you’ll remember it.

img{border:1px solid #;
-webkit-border-radius: 20px;
-moz-border-radius: 20px;
border-radius: 20px;

You can change “20px” to whatever looks good. Just remember to do it on each line as they relate to how different browsers read this rule.

If you use ProPhoto, or some other WordPress template that recommends that you not change the CSS file, they often have an area to add custom CSS. In that case you’ll add the same code in that area.

Another note, is that this rule will apply the rounded edges to all images. You can narrow it down by using “entry .img” or “post .img” or whatever your theme files are specifying for the images inside your blog posts. If you have questions or can’t figure it out, feel free to give us a shout and we’ll help you figure it out.

Find out more

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using CSS to enhance your photos all at once. You can have multiple radii, making tear-drop effects to your photos, have radii on individual corners and not others, etc. Then there’s things like CSS drop shadows and glows that, when used tastefully, can add something visually appealing to your site and blog posts.

Go check out W3 Schools information on CSS Borders for more on what you can do with these cool tricks.

Oh yeah…

This doesn’t work in Internet Explorer 8 and below, but as I tell everyone, “Internet Explorer can suck it.”

Why Photographers Should Be Using Full RSS Feeds

30 December

I’ll start really quickly with the answer to “What the heck is RSS?” so everyone can have grasp on the conversation here.

RSS stand for Real Simple Syndication. It basically is a way to “syndicate” or make your content available to others in a easy to read and access format. Think of it like the way the Associated Press syndicates their news to your local newspaper. They provide the content, and your local newspaper decides where it fits, and prints it in their paper.
In much the same way, when you use RSS, you’re allowing other people to subscribe to that information, and they can view the content you’re serving up in a format that is easy for them to read, and comes to their doorstep (so to speak).
Here’s a quick “RSS in Plain English” video if you’re still lost.

Why Full RSS Feeds Are Important

In WordPress you have the option of providing Full Text or Summary. The default is Full Text. The mistake that a few photographers make is changing this to Summary.

Why is this a mistake you ask?

Well, the Full Text option makes it easier for people that have subscribed to your RSS Feed to read it however they are used to reading their other feeds.

A Summary Feed only provides them with a short snippet of the blog post and then the reader is forced to go back to the original website to read the rest.

“Well that’s great, right? I get more traffic that way right?” You might say. But the reverse is true actually. The reason people subscribe to your RSS Feeds is because they like your content, but they also subscribe to a number of other blogs, and want to easily read all those blogs in one easy to access Feed Reader like Google Reader.

Nashville Wedding Photographer Paul Rowland agrees:

9 out of 10 times I will probably not visit that site if it requires “click through for more”. It’s all about barrier to entry for me. That being said, it’s probably no coincidence that very few, if any, of the blogs I follow require me to do this.

The goal should be to make it easy for the people interested in your content. If it’s not easy to consume, then why would they come to your website to read more? Plus when you do a Summary, you don’t know how much is going to show in your feed or if any photos will. Not knowing what people will see is a huge turn-off for your readers.

So do the right thing and publish Full Text Feeds.

A Few RSS Tips:

Here are a few other things that can help you with your RSS feeds:

  • Use Feedburner to publish your Feeds. The ability to keep statistics on how many subscribers is very valuable. There is also the option for allowing people to subscribe via email for those that don’t use feed readers.
  • If you use the Yoast SEO (in my opinion, it should be the only SEO plugin you use), you can create unique footers in your RSS feed that identify you as the original author of the blog post. This helps in the event that a content scraper uses your content somewhere else. You get the benefit of being the original. And sometimes that extra link back to your site isn’t a bad thing. Check out the RSS section in the plugin to set this up.
  • Make it easy for people to subscribe. You can use the standard orange icon or make up something to match your site. Want some help? Flaunt Your Site can help you with a custom design.
  • Forget about publishing your comments as a separate RSS feed. I don’t know of any reason why anyone would subscribe to your blog comments.


Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to subscribe. 🙂

Mary Sylvia – SEO Client Spotlight

28 December

Mary Sylvia is a Wellington Wedding Photographer based in New Zealand, and a recent client of ours. So far in the couple months she’s been with us, we’ve taken her site which did not even appear on Google for the term “Wellington Wedding Photographer,” and taken her to page 3 and climbing.

Our goal is to land in the top 3 in the next two months. I believe Mary is going to be one of the top Wedding Photographers in all of New Zealand. I’m not sure anyone can take bad photos in New Zealand, but her style of photography is a step above everyone else there, and she’s very in tune with the environment as well as the people she photographs. If you’re ever there, make sure you hook up with her for a portrait session.

She does travel and has done some work in the U.S. and is currently ramping up for a Fijian wedding. Make sure you snap her up before she becomes too busy. Here’s her website:

10 Marketing Techniques for Photographers

27 October

Note: This article was originally published on William Bay Photography in 2009 for my own wedding photography business. Since Flaunt Your Site is about getting your photography businesses noticed, I felt it was appropriate to move it here. And I believe the information still holds true today.

I’ve been doing a lot of meditating, brainstorming and reading about effective marketing and promotion for my wedding photography business. What I’ve concluded is that it all boils down to relationships. This is a bit of a revelation for me, as I have spent the majority of my 20′s burning bridges, and stubbornly thinking I could do everything on my own, while hiding behind my computer.

I agree with Seth Godin‘s marketing mantra of “You can’t buy attention.” And since all print advertising is doing is shouting “Look at me, look at me,” you have as much a chance of becoming a big name photographer as a five year old. So first, here is what I personally will not participate in*:

  • Print ads in local, or national wedding magazines. (You will fall through the cracks, while making the magazine richer, as you are drained of your hard earned resources).
  • Paid ads in online places such as The Knot, again, unless you are in an untapped region, you will be a drop in the bucket with a plethora of other photographers all competing for the same brides as you, save your money.
  • Mailings? Even worse. If you are lucky, you get 1/2% response rate from everyone you mail to. Assuming a run of 500, theoretically you would end up with 2.5 inquires. I have done this before and have not received one.

*Perhaps when I feel I’m ready to launch nationally, I may begin advertising, (but probably not).

OK, Let’s look at the things you could do that would be more efficient:

  1. Make lots of new friends and be generous:
    Like I said before, I spent most of my 20′s burning bridges. Now, I find that I am repairing the old, and building brand new ones. The people that I meet now, I make it a point to find out what interests them, what their passions are, what resources do I have that could benefit them.
    I rarely turn down a conversation anymore, you never know who is a person of influence, or where your relationship will go.
  2. Begin relationships with Wedding Coordinators and Venues:
    While Coordinators and Venues will more than likely already have some photographers they have worked with before, if you want to make a splash in your town and want to have your name/studio name permeate and be well known, you are going to have to hit the pavement and do the “dog and pony” show with your work. Show them you are interested in their work or facility. They are more than happy to meet with other industry people.
    It’s important to note while you are meeting these people, that you aren’t selling your photography, you are selling you and your personality. So turn on the charm.
  3. Bridal shows:
    I am slowly changing my mind on this one. I have bought into the stories of low-budget brides just shopping for prices. But the more I think about it and discuss the notion with my confidant, the more it makes sense to do the more larger shows.
    I’ve been reassured that there are brides that range all kinds of budgets. And the key factor is that there are brides there, my target market! As someone that is swearing off advertising, it’s imperitive to be actively engaging with them, and obtaining information from those potential brides for consultations rather than just being a human brochure and spouting off prices and packages.
    –I’ll keep you with results from my first one, (which may be in June).
  4. Join PPA or other photographic networking group:
    “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member” – Groucho Marx
    Here is the ultimate sign that hell has frozen over – I’m joining a club… Yeah, It hurts a little bit.
    Trying to maintain an outcast image has hurt me in the business world. Now, I see that I can attempt to stand out in a targeted niche group.
    I was brought to a PPA meeting by a good friend of mine as a guest and met David Willis of Leather Craftsmen, and Ross Benton, a very well known wedding photographer from San Antonio. These relationships are just the beginning of what could be a significant boost to launch my career. I’m sure there will be more special speakers, but, I think the real juice lies in the potential referrals that could come by knowing your fellow members in the PPA (or whatever networking groups you decide to join).
  5. Teach:
    The more you are in the public eye the better. And teaching other photographers makes you generous, an expert, and your students can end up as your most loyal evangelists. Plus, if you have a deep knowledge base of one particular subject, imagine how powerfully you can affect the photographic community you belong to, which makes you an influential figure.
    I am working on putting together a Customer Service workshop. It may not be the most sexiest of workshops, but I believe it’s the most vital to growing a business.
  6. Cause a controversy:
    I was kicked out of the Tribeza Bridal Show. It may not be a big deal in the local news or anything, (I did rather wish some police or security was involved for greater exposure), but it did raise a few eyebrows with photographers and vendors. As long as the name William Bay is on the lips of people in the wedding industry, I’m happy. And if the buzz is edgy and controversial, that’s even better. I want crazy rumors floating around about me. “Did you hear that a Bridesmaid at a wedding slipped William Bay a rufi?”
    It’s alleged that Ozzy Osbourne bit off the head of a bat! Crazy, huh? It never happened, but look at the buzz that he has around him.
    What can you personally stir up in your photographic community. Is it as extreme as me?
    No? OK how about challenging the most well known photographer in your area. If he says one thing, say the complete opposite (as long as you believe it). Say you could outshoot them blindfolded, then back it up. Make sure there are lots of witnesses.
  7. Blockparty:
    Remember the postcard mailers I discussed earlier, in the what not to do section. The postcards would have run you about $80 for 500 at Overnight Prints. The postage would have been about $150. That totals $230 to have people quickly glance at your well designed card before they toss it in their recycle bin.
    Instead, take that $230 (this may run you some more actually), and go to Costco, pick up enough food to feed 50 people and hold yourself a blockparty. Run flyers 3 weeks out and make sure people RSVP. People love free food and good music.
    Spend your time meeting your neighbors, getting to know them, letting them know that you are a photographer, and take pictures of everybody. Post them on your website for everyone to download. (Yes, I said download).
  8. Find an office:
    Since I have moved in to my tiny little office in the back of my friends floral shop, I have met a ton of people. So the networking possibilities are endless. At $300/month, the expense is not bad, and having a legitimate place to meet clients, an area that I can work semi-uninterrupted, access to potential clientele, and the loyalty of the shop owner by providing free photos of her floral arrangments is truly priceless.
  9. Get published:
    I’m working on this one right now. I swung for the fence, by trying to get into Grace Ormonde – Wedding Style. If I get in, I will be truly stoked, if not I will keep trying. I already have my next shoots lined up and the ideas are just bursting at the seams ready to jump out and into the camera.
    The important thing is to get into real publications, not the ones where you have to advertise to get some editorial work.
  10. Top Secret:
    Yeah, I know… I tricked you. Hey, I’ve got to keep some trade secrets.

I do hope you got some value out of this. And remember the general rule of thumb in marketing is that all your efforts will provide you with about 5% returns.
You must be prepared to put forth a great deal of energy and effort to obtain each and every customer. Keep it in perspective too, this should not be about getting clients quick, it should be about building your future.

Be relentless, be positive, and always be thinking about the future, not the next booking.