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Professional Photographer Instagram Workflow

29 March

Instagram workflow for photographers.This article is not going to teach you how to get a million followers or the most likes on Instagram. Let those “Social Media Gurus” do that.

But, what I’d like to focus on is the actual workflow of getting your photos up to Instagram without a lot of hassle. I can’t deny the fact that Instagram has gotten huge. And I keep hearing about professional photographers getting leads and clients from it. Anywhere I hear that, my ears perk up. After all, what we do here at Flaunt Your Site,  SEO (or Inbound marketing) isn’t solely about search engines. The practice involves so much, but the core is really increasing traffic and customers. And as a photographer myself, I totally want more clients, and it sounds like Instagram has potential for that.

So I naturally had some questions about it. The biggest one being about workflow. So I’ll walk you through what I discovered for myself.

How do professional photographers post to Instagram?

I got used to Instagram for a weekend checking it out. Me and my buddy James were doing a guy thing in LA before he moved away to Philly. We ate at Randy’s Donuts, Pinks, Canters, went to see Johhny Ramone’s grave, hung out in Hollywood and Venice. All those photos are still up in my Instagram stream. Click through and you can check em out (and follow me too). They’re heavily filtered and have sloppy borders. I used my iPhone for all that. So I was fairly familiar with the process of using the phone app.

But all my professional photographer friends I know are posting their real photos to Instagram. And all my real photos are inside Lightroom. So my obvious first question is how do I get it from one to the other? I had to come up with a work flow that made sense and didn’t take too much time.

#Latergram to the Rescue

I remember a good buddy of mine, Andy Stenz, using this hashtag on his photos called #latergram. On a whim I decided to check it out. And what I found was really pretty close to what I wanted. Latergram is a website that allows you to directly upload photos to a scheduling calendar. So you can load up a weeks worth, or a months worth (it has a limit of 30 images) of images. You can add your description and hashtags right on the website too!

At the scheduled time, the separate, and required Latergram phone app notifies you. You click on the notification, tell it to launch Instagram (which you also need). The photo is automatically loaded into Instagram!
Then providing you don’t want filters, etc. Click Next, and your description and hashtags are right there already! Score! The next thing is to decide where you want it shared, and then click post. Wham, Bam, Thank you Instagram!

Here’s a visual of me walking through the whole process:

So that was easy, but I don’t shoot square.

So, now I got the process of getting my photos into Instagram in a fairly painless way figured out. But I don’t shoot square images. I also don’t want to crop them either since I compose everything in frame. And I shoot panorama formats as well.

The simple solution is to just do what I noticed other photographers doing, and that’s to have a white square canvas, and drop the photo in the center. This leaves white bands across the top and bottom (for horizontal images).
So I started doing that in Photoshop, and after a couple images, I thought it would be prudent to make an Action to automat everything… And that’s when the lightbulb went off (well, maybe after I got a fresh beer).

Orange Mocha Frapu…  The Lightroom Print Module!

2015-03-22_00-27-59After that beer, I thought… Why not avoid Photoshop altogether and just use the Print Module to export JPEGs? So I set out to figure that out.

Here are the settings I came up with:

  • Single Image/Contact Sheet
  • Zero margins all sides
  • 1 column, 1 row
  • Cell Size: 12.8×12.8 inches (you’ll have to set this in Custom Size further down)
  • Print to: JPEG File
  • File resolution: 100dpi (this creates an image 1280×1280 which is twice the 640×640 size that instagram uses. I just use it cause I can, and I like to think that the data may still be there if they go to a larger size down the line. You can of course use 6.4 inches @ 100dpi if you prefer.).
  • Print Sharpening: Low, Glossy
  • JPEG Quality: 90 (Instagram probably compresses as well, so I don’t apply much)
  • Custom File Dimensions: See above.

That’s it! But don’t feel like you have to stop there. You can add your logo, or different color backgrounds, etc.

So what I do is look for photos I’d like to post that week. I personally do weddings, fine art, travel and Day in the Life family portrait work, so I like to mix it up a bit to show off what I do. I’ll grab a couple of each, and drop them into a Quick Collection. When I’ve got my seven for the week, I’ll go to the Quick Collection, then select the Print Module, select the preset I made, select the seven images, then Print them (it’ll look like your printing 1 image, but it will print all of them to the place you designate.

So now you have your images ready to drop into Latergram as we did in the first half of the post.


…we’ll be able to mentally beam the photos with our minds as we’re driving our self-flying cars. But until then, let me know what you think of the workflow. If you have any suggestions for a better way, feel free to leave them in the comments down below.

Seth Godin Says Your Clients Aren’t Plankton

17 March

Time for my yearly Seth Godin quote.

I love reading the marketing-without-marketing mastermind. He’s always a source of great inspiration and thought provoking advice. I’ve been ruminating on this post from his site earlier this week called Are We Not Plankton? (Deevo fans will get a kick out of that).

Something that really stood out for me is the following:

For most modern marketers, quantity isn’t the point. What matters is to matter. Lives changed. Work that made an actual difference. Connection.

What’s important to keep in mind is, as a small business owner running your own photography business, you are the “modern marketer” Godin is talking about.  You are the one that is changing the lives by attracting the clients. It all starts in the attraction of those clients. And as I discussed Facebook Likes a couple weeks back, each single Like, each individual potential client, each new actual client should be treated as gold. Because each Like, each potential client, and each actual client, all have their unique role in driving your business.

Marketers call the process of potential customers converting to actual customers a Funnel. That funnel should be your gold, and operated with your company brand values. If your communication was the last communication a person ever read, would you want that experience to be a canned response you saved in Gmail, or something profoundly worthy?

As photographers, we have the ability to change people’s lives. Let’s do it from the first contact.




Get Rid of Your Big Headers

26 February

Do you have a big header of photos on your site? If so, you may want to rethink that. You could potentially be annoying a large part of your audience.

Usability is the study of how people use things (like websites). And one of the things they track is a thing called Friction. This is when a user wants to accomplish one thing, but the website’s design prevents it or makes it more challenging.

When a potential client comes to your website, what do you think they are looking for? What do you think is most important for them?
I’m willing to bet, it’s not the same 5 images rotating through your header.
No, what would be important to them is to easily find the information they need to make a decision to hire you or not.

But if you have a big header, many people will be required to scroll down to find the menu. (Remember, not everyone has a 27″ iMac like you). And this happens on every single page. And it’s not just to get to the menu, but the user has to scroll to get to the Content as well!

This increases the Friction on your website.  But it’s not just your website. This is the first time a potential client comes into contact with your business. This is your first impression. The experience of the website sets the tone for the service they will receive.

So my question to you is, are you committed to assisting your clients in getting what they need? Then, you may consider removing barriers to that. I’d start with getting rid of that big header.


How Much is Your Website Worth, and How Valuable is it?

13 February
Photo Credit: Lap Fung Chan from Flickr.

Photo Credit: Lap Fung Chan from Flickr.


If you look back over 2013, could you tell me how much business your website generated? Is your business even set up to be able to find out?

Just to get a sense of what I’m talking about, let’s take a completely arbitrary number like $100,000 in sales for the year 2013. You may have a few client acquisition methods, and they may look something like this:

  • Website
  • Word of mouth
  • Networking
  • Randomly meeting engaged couples or potential clients (new moms, etc).

So let’s take a look at your website. In this day and age, I’m willing to bet your site is the majority source of clients. For this example let’s say 75% meaning that our example website generated $75,000 worth of sales for you. (If you’re playing along at home, please make sure you use your own numbers).


With that in mind, do you really place enough value on your website?
The majority of photographers that start online get their domain for $10, pay $80/yr for cheap shared hosting, and then slap a ProPhoto template on their site for $200, and set it up pretty much how everyone else sets theirs up (save for design differences).

So you’re up online for under $300 bucks, and probably 30-40 or so hours of your own time, or so which is great.
That might be great for people just starting out, but what about when you’re website starts generating $75,000? Does your website experience reflect that with your visitors?

Put more succinctly: Is that a match for the company that you’re looking to run?

If your website is generating the majority of your income, shouldn’t it look and feel that way?
Look, you don’t have to hire Flaunt Your Site to build you a $5,000 website (but if you want to, you should totally contact us. 🙂 ), or spend lots of money to accomplish your goals.
All you have to do is think about the user experience from your client’s point of view; From the moment they get on the site, to how they find the information they need, to how to contact you, etc.

If you start thinking about that, and start to put things in place that better that experience for your potential clients, you’ll start to increase the value you of your website. And you’ll increase the worth with all the new clients you’re starting to get.

Get Your Own Custom Short URLs for Twitter

01 December

If you use Twitter to share your blog posts and photos, you’ll no doubt have noticed that you need to use short urls in order to fit your content in the 140 characters and still get your link in. There are shortening services like Bitly, and that will automatically make short urls for you that you can use for your tweets. But I’d like to share a couple ways to customize your own short urls for Twitter.

Customize your Bitly Links

Did you know that you can actually change the URLs when you use Bitly? Yeah! It’s pretty frickin cool. Check it out:

  1. First create an account or login to Bitly.
  2. Paste your URL into the box that says “Paste URL here”
  3. A screen will pop up with your new shortened URL. If you hover your mouse over the new URL, you’ll see a link that pops up that says “Customize” Click that…
  4. Now you’ll get the customize screen. Now by default Bitly uses a 6 character url after the “” portion, so you’ll want to keep your custom URLs as short as possible. In my example, I added just enough characters to make it somewhat recognizable what the page is about with It more than doubles the standard length, but it’s still way shorter than the original post URL.
  5. And there you have it! Your very own custom shortened URL using Bitly. You can use that as many times as you like since it will always be saved in your Bitly account.

Creating Your Own Short Domain

So you now know how to create short URLs with Bitly, but what if you wanted a short URL of your own to use? Well, you can use to create special short domains and use those instead of using All you have to do is go to  Domainr and fill in your business name, personal name, etc. You’ll get a list of unique names/domains combinations with alternate TLDs. The green squares indicate whether or not the domain is available.

In my case I used my own name William Bay, and I get to choose which of the domains I would like to purchase and use for a shortened URL.

The other great thing is that you can use your new shortened domain name in Bitly, so Bitly will shorten your URLs when you want to paste them in Twitter. If you follow the instructions here you can see how to setup the domain to work with Bitly automatically.


While these techniques won’t increase your SEO, it will definitely bring a cool factor to your links in Twitter (plus a little more branded experience). And that “cool factor” could be enough to pick up a few extra click throughs each time you post a tweet.

Let us know if you do this. I’d love to see some of the short domains that you all create from your regular domains. We love that here.

Someone Stole Paul Von Rieter’s Domain Name!

23 April

Last Thursday I was in the middle of a phone call with a client discussing their upcoming website design, and in the span of 3 minutes I received a text message, email and a voicemail all from a frantic Paul Von Rieter (pictured left), exclaiming that someone had bought his domain name out from underneath him. Now Paul, if you remember is one of the two photographers Flaunt Your Site now sponsors and manages all their website design, hosting and SEO. We were just starting to get into a new redesign for Paul when this happened, and the tires screeched to a halt.

When I called him back I found out that he had failed to respond to his expiring domain notice that he received back in February. Whether he missed it, or got busy and didn’t open it, wasn’t quite clear to him. So I asked him to call GoDaddy where he purchased his domain and to find out how to contact the people that purchased it. He went off and did that, and that led to a 10 day battle of wills, and Paul forking over $600 to get his domain back. It was stressful on both he and I, but we have the domain back, and his site is finally back up.

So let’s take a look at the “why” of this whole thing.

Why Jerkoffs buy Expiring Domains

Ok… They’re not all jerkoffs. There are plenty of people that legitimately want a domain that was not available at the time and got in line to purchase the domain when it became available.

But there are those jerkoffs that buy expiring domains with the worst of intentions. It’s called Cybersquatting. They get lists of expiring domains and seek out the domains with lots of links pointing to the site, and strong Domain Authority (similar to Page Rank). The purpose of this is two-fold.

  1. They could sell the domain back to the original owner if the owner forgot about the expiration and wanted it back (there are international laws against this, but we’ll get to that in a bit). This is what happened in Paul’s case.
  2. If that doesn’t pan out, the domain can be used in what I feel are shady SEO tactics of either creating a “micro-site” with that domain and linking to sites that in order to boost their rankings. Or simply redirecting the url to another site, which gives that site all the links and Domain Authority the expired domain used to have.

“You said there are laws against this?” You ask…

Well, yes. There is an international law against someone purchasing an expired domain with the intent to sell it back. The problem is that it is extremely difficult to prove intent. In this email (excuse the poor English – we believe our Cybersquatters hail from Germany – see photo for what we think he looks like), you can see their attempt at playing dumb, and allowing us to ask for the domain first.

We don’t want to have it necessarily. A lot of other domains to buy. I’ll ask our developer how many hrs he has been working with it and I guess it’s possible to auction it back to a reasonable price. Never happened before and we have never sold anything. Don’t know yet.

The Expiration Process

Based on some numbers I found from 2010, GoDaddy itself has about 20,000 domains expiring each week. This accounts for more than $1 Million weekly! Some of these are people intentionally ditching their domains, but some are bound to be accidents. Don’t be one of the people that forget and make GoDaddy richer, most of you know how I feel about GoDaddy.

It might help to know the process when you forget to renew your domain. I’ll let Mike Davidson, brought us Newsvine and an all around cool internet dude, explain:

Contrary to popular belief, domains do not expire when they say they do. If the owner of a domain does not renew by the expiration date of the domain, the domain goes into “expired” status. For 40 days, the domain is in a grace period where all services are shut off, but the domain owner may still renew the domain for a standard renewal fee. If a domain enters this period, it is a good first indicator that it may not be renewed, but since the owner can re-register without penalty, it can also just be a sign of laziness or procrastination.

After 40 days are up, the domain’s status changes to “redemption period”. During this phase, all WhoIs information begins disappearing, and more importantly, it now costs the owner an additional fee to re-activate and re-register the domain. The fee is currently around $100, depending on your registrar. When a domain enters its redemption period, it’s a good bet the owner has decided not to renew.

Finally, after the redemption period, the domain’s status will change to “locked” as it enters the deletion phase. The deletion phase is 5 days long, and on the last day between 11am and 2pm Pacific time, the name will officially drop from the ICANN database and will be available for registration by anybody.

The entire process ends exactly 75 days after the listed expiration date.

After that, the rats are all over the domains. Good domains can get swept up in minutes. So the good news is that if you miss the initial expiration date, you can get it back. Just don’t let it go too long or it’ll cost you to get it back.

So How Can You Protect Yourself

It seems to be a very simple task of renewing your domain every year, but as we’ve witnessed mistakes happen. Not only has it happened to Paul, but just ask Foursquare, their whole site went down after forgetting to renew their domain. Here are a few tips on how not to let this happen to you:

  1. Register for 10 years. The longest period you can register a domain for is 10 years. When it costs you ~$100, you may as well. (Please note, that this will NOT improve any SEO value to your site as some have been led to believe this by the Website Grader).
  2. If you are auto-renewing, make sure that you have a valid credit card or Paypal account hooked up to your domain registry account.
  3. Absolutely ensure that your domain registry companies email does not go to your SPAM folder.
  4. Do NOT buy the “Private Registration” add-on that most places will sell you. While this won’t help you with an expiring domain, it will make sure that your domain is not registered under GoDaddy’s name. It’s always best to have your name be the one that’s published with the domain publicly, so there is absolutely no doubt that you are the de facto owner.

The Wrap Up

$600 is a lot of cash, but it could have been much worse. So remember, don’t be like Paul, keep your domains renewed.

*This blog post has been approved by Paul Von Rieter to ensure that people learn from his stupid mistake.

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!

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. 🙂

Why Writing Well is Important… Even for Photographers.

22 September

Such a great deal of our business is centered on writing. Emails, blog posts, bios, website content, marketing pieces, invoices, proposals, etc. If your writing skills aren’t up to par, you could turn off potential clients with poor grammar, spelling or even lazy writing.

Take a look for yourself and see how many blog posts you’ve written lately that are half-ass’d attempts at scrawling something out as quickly and painlessly as possible. (I’m looking at you Wedding Photographers).
I must have read at least two hundred wedding blog posts that follow this general pattern:

“I just shot a wedding this past Saturday that was to DIE for. Jane was SO beautiful in her dress and Jack looked so handsome. They’re such an amazing couple, and I was so honored to be there and take part in such a big moment of their lives.
Here’s the photos. Hope you like them.”

And have you all even looked at your “About” pages? Most of them look like they were taken from the same template.
Your writing style doesn’t have to win awards for style, but if you spend some time with it, and translate the creative juices you use for photography into your writing, you can come away with something far more original, and vastly improved.
For example, look what San Luis Obispo Wedding Photographer, Ken Kienow did with his About page. What’s unique about it, is that it’s simple, but written well, and more important, it’s from his heart.

Writing is a skill, and I promise it can be improved.
Ernest Hemingway once said:

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.” 

It won’t be an overnight phenomenon, but put a little extra effort into your writing from this day forth. Create a backstory from your life experience for your next blog post so that people can not only experience your fantastic photos, but also create their own unique picture of what it was like to be there. One of my own personal favorite blog posts was from my best friend’s wedding in which I was a groomsman and I weaved one of my travel adventures into a special moment that we all shared. Can you bring something from your own history to your blog posts?

Work on it. Push yourself. And in the meantime learn some writing skills. There are great books out there to read and improve. Here are a few:

I read Elements of Style 18 years ago and I believe it should sit next to everyone’s computer right alongside a Thesaurus. It’s a very quick read and it will point out many of the common misuses of English that people tend not to catch such as: “there, they’re and their,” “lose, as opposed to loose,” and the dreaded “its/it’s” problem.
The book will also cover other grammatical and sentence structure errors that make the difference between being taken as an intellectual, or …the opposite of that.

The other books can take your skill of writing to levels that you would never have imagined.

In closing, remember:

  • When so much correspondence is focused on email and the internet, the way you write creates an indelible impression, on others, about you.
  • Stretch your imagination. You don’t have to hit “Publish” or “Send” when you’re done writing. You can save drafts and come back to it later.
  • If you take on the challenge of boning up on your writing chops you will have a tremendous advantage over those that resist and are left behind with their poor writing skills.

Grammar and writing is one of those funny things where it only stands out to people if it’s bad. And it’s a terrible thing to say, that if you develop your skills as a writer, you’ll turn off fewer people.
But that’s the truth. So learn to write well.

The Importance of Branded Email

26 July

Are you that photographer

that hands someone a free Vista Print card, and an email address that says “”

Or worse yet, have you spent hundreds of dollars on beautiful letterpress cards, but have a Gmail address on them?

Shame on you!

Personalized Domain Emails FTW

Just as the way you dress says something about your image, so does your email. And it’s a relatively easy and cheap fix.

Reasons for branded emails:

  • Professional appearance (This should go without saying).
  • Consistency (Using your domain with your email address drives home that brand).
  • Credibility (Gmail addresses are easy to get, making them less reliable).
  • Security (Less likely to get marked as spam by filtering software).
  • Expandability (Use multiple email addresses for different aspects of your business or additional employees:,,

The Solution

If you don’t already own your domain. Please go buy one. I recommend Name Cat or Omnis.
*Please don’t buy from GoDaddy. The GoDaddy owner kills elephants and I boycott their products and services.

Most domain registrars and hosting companies will have a FAQ on how to incorporate your new email address into the most popular programs such as Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, etc.
If you like using Gmail’s webmail, you can still use it along with your new domain email address by signing up for Google Apps. It provides the same interface, and spam filtering that you are used to, with the ability to use your own branded email address.


With as many photographers as there are these days, you need to do everything you can to set yourself apart. Having your own domain and email address is one of the easiest and cheapest to do. It legitimises your business and provides a professional image. It is quite literally one of the best return on investments you can make as a business owner.

If you have questions or need help in getting your new email setup, please feel free to contact us at Flaunt Your Site.