The Blog

Improved Profile page and Localized Date Formating

Starting today, you can customize how dates are displayed in fotoClient. We’ve also reorganized the Profile page to help make localizing fotoClient even more intuitive.

Here is how to get started with customization:

  1. Navigate to your profile page by going to settings →  Profile (https://app.fotoclient.com/#!/settings/profile).
  2. Click the Date Format dropdown and select the option you would prefer.
  3. Press Save

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The date format selected will consistently display on invoices, on the Event and Lead page, client views and throughout the app. Check it out and let us know what you think. Like always, feedback is always welcomed! Email us at hello@fotoclient.com or @fotoclient on Twitter

Spotlight: Anna Nielsen Photo

In today’s SpotLight, we are excited to speak with Anna Nielsen about her experience as a photographer and photojournalist.

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Share a little about your photography journey with us. How did you get to where you are?

I think my journey has in some ways been pretty straightforward, but it’s a tough industry and I have definitely questioned why I do this so many times and lost sight of it. But I think its all about keep moving even when you lose sight for a while.

My journey as a photographer started when I was around age 16, living at home in Denmark. I was really fascinated with James Nachtways photographs of war in Kosovo and other remote places that I knew nothing about. I just clearly remember how his images moved me and how that’s when I decided that I wanted to be a photojournalist.

I started by doing some photography courses in Kona and traveled to Egypt on a longer trip. I am not a very technical person and before my courses in Kona I had only developed black and white films in my little “darkroom”/ blacked out toilet at home. So learning how to use digital photography was new to me.

In Egypt, I was reaffirmed in my desire to travel and document stories. On that trip I mostly just took pictures of people. I practiced walking up to strangers in the street and getting permission to photograph them despite language barriers. It was also my first real trip to the Middle East.

Later on, I participated in one year long trip, traveling around the world with a team of photographers from India, and we ended up in Panama. The result was a collection of stories highlighting Human Trafficking and modern day slavery. It was a hectic experience, and although I became a better photographer and gained a lot of experience traveling and working in these countries I was frustrated that I did not have better journalistic skills.

I returned home to Denmark for a few months and got accepted into a university in England. For the next 3 years I worked on a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism. I learned to research and ask more critical questions, to tell stories in a more effective way while maintaining an important set of ethics. I also learned a lot from my peers who all pushed me to be better. A lot of them are internationally-recognized photographers today.

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Finishing university was difficult. I had done well, and I graduated with a first and a lot of claps on the back, but I also felt the weight of other people’s high expectations and even more so I felt the loneliness of having left the learning environment and the camaraderie we had with each other during the course.

I returned to Denmark without much of a plan. I wanted to work on personal projects for a while and get them published but nothing happened. No one ever replied to my calls and emails, and no one looked at my work–it was a discouraging, uphill battle. I think I was a bit burned out and stressed about making a living as well. After a while, I had to take off my “photojournalist” identity and do whatever jobs I could get. I started photographing weddings in the summer and did non-profit work for NGO’s on the side in Egypt and other places. Don’t get me wrong, I like weddings, but it’s difficult to market and brand yourself as two things that are so vastly different.

I lived in Copenhagen at the time, which is a fairly expensive place with a very small photo industry, and after a year I decided to leave. Now I am based out of Dubai where I freelance for a national newspaper focusing on Emirati news and where I get more opportunities to work abroad.

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Who inspires you and from where do you draw your inspiration? 

I get inspired by many other photographers. Recently I did a workshop in Prague with Ron Haviv. That was really inspiring. He has experience and talent and sometimes you just need someone who is respected in the industry to look at your work and help you identify some of the things you’re doing right. After all, photographers are really good at being our own worst critics.

Besides that, I get inspired by traveling and picking up publications in different countries. Brown book, for instance, is a magazine based out of Dubai that offers completely different picture of the Middle East and North Africa than what most of us are used to, so I make sure to buy it every time I find it!

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How do your concepts typically develop? 

Usually my concepts are story based photo essays that generally follow the same formula.

For example, my graduation project was a case study of 3 young British girls who had converted to Islam. That was a long research process just to find them and convince them to be part of my essay. The inspiration for the project was a result of the political climate in the UK at the time and current affairs in general.

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How do you plan for a shot?

I almost alway make a mind map, trying to sketch out all possible directions the project or shoot could go. I usually roughly know how I want it to look, including specific images I am after. But that’s not always the best idea. It all depends on the subject and the chemistry you have on the shoot. Sometimes I get really disappointed when I don’t get what I am after in my head.

It’s important to be prepared but not overly prepared. My equipment is very simplistic and usually the research and planning of the project is 80% of the work.

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What are some of the challenges youve experienced in starting out in photojournalism? 

The biggest challenge is definitely how saturated the job market is. Everyone is firing staff and you are working as a freelancer often with no one to ensure you or cover your expenses, especially when working abroad. I assisted a world famous photographer once, Jan Grarup, and he often said that if he had been a young photographer today he would have never started.

It is challenging because you really need to be able to sell yourself as much as your work. A lot of editors get flooded with work people send in, and they hardly look at it. You often need a personal connection with the editors so you can make yourself known to them. Networking is massive and that is the part I enjoy the least. There are so many talented photographers and someone is always willing to work for free to get ahead.

With the changes in the industry of course other opportunities are always opening up. A lot of people are crowdfunding and self-publishing for example. To really effectively reach someone with your work, you have to be extremely intentional with where to publish it and in what way. It is very difficult to make a living doing this, but it’s definitely possible. :)

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What do you value about using fotoClient? If you dont mind sharing, how has fotoClient helped you improve your workflow?

I started using fotoClient one summer when I was shooting a lot of weddings.

Weddings are hard work and if you are shooting all summer, you need to be really disciplined with sending out invoices and making sure you get everything done in the right order. fotoClient just simplified the process. Having everything gathered in one place–emails, calendar, reminders, invoices, etc. was a great help. I am not the most organized person so for me it was brilliant. I used to have yellow sticky notes all over my desk and walls to remember everyone’s addresses, deadlines and orders and now my desk is clean! :)

So all in all, fotoClient has just helped me simplify things and streamline my workflow. I spend less time on paperwork and more time on editing.

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A huge thank you from the fotoClient team to Anna for sharing her experiences with us. Find more of Anna’s work at http://www.anna-nielsen.com/ and stay tuned to our blog for the next update from our amazing community of photographers. 

Spotlight: Julian Abram Wainwright

While we’re still hard at work developing fotoClient, we’ve also still taken some time to talk to another member of our awesome community. We’ve been amazed by all the photographers who have come alongside fotoClient. Today we’re excited to feature Julian Abram Wainwright.  Julian is a World Press Photo-winning photographer based in Manila, Philippines. A native of Montreal, Canada, Julian’s editorial clients include Time Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes and many others. You can be a part of his creative journey on Facebook and Twitter

Born and raised in Montreal, Canada and today you find yourself all over Southeast Asia. What drew you there?
In 1997 I won a grant from the Canadian government to do a 6month work placement at the English-language newspaper in Hanoi, Vietnam. I fell in love with the city and the country, and in 2001 I moved back there with the notion of kick-starting my photography career. It was still opening up after years of post-war isolation, and there was a lot of interest in the international media for news and feature stories there. Within a year I was freelancing for TIME and other magazines, and in 2003 I was hired as a staff photographer for European Pressphoto Agency. I served as their chief photographer for Vietnam until 2010. I’m now based in Manila, Philippines, and shoot mostly destination weddings, corporate and commercial work, although I still do some news work as a contract photographer with Bloomberg. Southeast Asia is a wonderful place to live and explore.
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What major differences did you notice being a photographer in North America vs. being a photographer in Vietnam or Thailand?

Before moving to Asia I had no photography experience whatsoever. I kind of created a career when I moved. That said, I reckon one of the biggest differences would be opportunity. In North America it would have taken me years – if at all – to get in the door with clients like TIME and FORBES magazine. In Vietnam it happened really quickly. There’s something to be said about staying put where you are and creating stories there, but the reality is that if you are prepared to pack a bag and go somewhere many people wouldn’t be prepared to go, there’s great opportunity around the corner.

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Do you ever still travel outside of Asia to do shoots? If so, where have you been traveling recently?
I go back to Canada every summer with my family, and try to shoot a few weddings in Nova Scotia while we’re there. Other than that, when we’re in Canada its vacation time. I try to cut back on my big travelling assignments as I don’t like to be away from my kids for too long, so sticking to Asia  – which is big enough already – suits me fine. This fall I have photoshoots in Thailand, Vietnam, Guam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and the Philippines. That’s a lot of travel, but the nice thing about Southeast Asia is that there’s a lot of interesting places in a relatively small area.
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You shoot weddings, street and editorial photography. How do you approach each challenge?

I approach weddings and editorial photography in much the same way. Everything I shoot is an assignment, and I treat weddings like I’m on a day-long assignment creating a storytelling narrative of the day. Whatever I’m shooting it always means being prepared, arriving early, leaving late, trying different approaches to the usual images and always trying to do at least one thing new, creative and challenging to tell a story in a different way.

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In your opinion, what is the hardest thing about being a photographer?
For me, the hardest thing about being a photographer is the business side – the constant hustle. The act of photography is pure bliss. The act of running a successful business? Not so much. But you won’t be making pictures professionally for long if you can’t manage a small business. The art and commerce of photography go hand in hand.
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What major cultural differences have influenced your photography since you moved to Southeast Asia?

The biggest cultural difference has been the parameters of “private” vs “public” space. In North America, street photography can be challenging because most people will consider if an invasion of their private space if you photograph them in public. But in, say, Vietnam, there’s not that same notion of privacy. I feel much more comfortable shooting close to people in public spaces in most of Southeast Asia. Mostly because people don’t get as pissed off at me. They usually just smile and get on with what their doing.

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What do you value about using fotoClient? If you don’t mind, how has fotoClient helped you improve your workflow?

I’ve been using fotoClient for a few months now, and I use it primarily to help manage and keep track of my wedding leads and bookings. I like that its got a very simple, straightforward interface. Photographers are visual people – it makes sense to have a clean, aesthetically pleasing format to work with! Using fotoClient I’ve become much more diligent about recording lead information when it comes it, so that I have a small database at my fingertips whenever I need it. The automated task/workflow labels are really helpful.
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We built fotoClient to give professional photographers a powerful, beautiful, and easy to use studio management software. You can connect with us on Facebook, or Twitter. Interested in being a beta testers? Request an invite today: fotoclient.com

 

 

Spotlight: Shay Nartker

From day one, our team has been humbled by the community of professional photographers using fotoClient for their studio management. Today we invite Ohio based wedding photographer, Shay Nartker to share a little about his photography journey. You can be a part of his creative journey on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

What first sparked your passion for photography? While growing up I was always fascinated by video cameras. In fact, there is a home video of me when I was 4 or 5 years old begging my dad to let me look through the view finder of his new VHS video camera. (Big time technology for that time era.) As I made my way through high school, I discovered Photoshop.  I would spend hours in art class plugging away and trudging through manuals and tutorials.  I learned techniques like putting my head on someone else’s body, or removing things I didn’t want in the photo.  People thought I was some kind of magician. A lot of those photos got a good laugh from my friends and later landed me a job working in a photography studio as a photo retouch artist.  You know, doing things like taking out acne, blemishes, and stuff like that.

static.squarespace Spending hours in the studio and watching the lead photographer do his work I started asking myself questions about photography.  “What was it like to be the one pulling the trigger on the shutter?”  “What makes a good photo?”  “Is it cool meeting new people all the time?”  One of the things I enjoyed most was watching the faces of our clients when they saw themselves in a good photo.  Bringing someone to tears through your work is an amazing thing.  It made me feel good and I wanted to keep making people feel good.  That’s all that mattered to me.

1493319_511619545614400_7178195826805516314_o After working for several months with the studio, I decided I wanted to be a photographer.  I wanted to be the one making people happy with my photos.  My dad had an old Nikon D40 that he let me borrow.  I went out and started shooting the typical beginner stuff like flowers, birds, cats, dogs, whatever I could find that would hold still long enough for me to aimlessly click around the various settings until I got a photo.  Now, seven years later I am the owner of my own photography business and it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world.  I have been a professional photographer for four years and I have never looked back.

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How to you approach the challenge of shooting weddings? Whew, weddings!  You know it took me awhile to figure this out.  Wedding photography is such a tricky thing to get into and I am still learning a thousand new things every time I shoot another one. The dynamic of the couples changes every time and I can’t say that any one wedding I have shot has been the same as the previous one.  The best thing I can say to anyone considering wedding photography is planning, planning, and more planning.

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I owe what I know about wedding photograph to my great friend and fellow wedding photographer, Levi Ely of Ely Brothers Photography.  Check them out, seriously.  Before meeting Levi I was a lost cause.  I had no idea what I was doing and I failed miserably.   After shooting my first wedding (by myself, I might add) I thought I hated it.  It was one of the hardest, most labor-intensive things I had ever done. There were people everywhere and I had to be everywhere at once.  I kept looking around for a cloning machine because I felt like there just wasn’t enough of me.

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After almost hanging up my gear for good, Levi invited me to be a third shooter at a wedding.  Yes, you read that right, a third shooter.  My only responsibility was to “photograph people smiling”.  So I did.

Zach And Jen Wedding Blog_0026During that shoot I asked Levi a million questions and after being reassured a million times that I was doing a good job, I learned to slow down, plan out my shoot, and learn about the couple before their wedding day. I began to love weddings.  Photographing them became not only fun but also exciting.  It is a great feeling when you finish a 10-hour shoot day and have the couple go out of their way to give you a hug and a sincere thank you. In your opinion, what is the hardest thing about being a photographer? Hardest thing about being a photographer?  Learning to like the photos you take.  I think most photographers would agree that after shooting it is hard to be excited about our photos even though they are good.  In my mind I know my work is good but without fail when I post a wedding to my blog and another photographer posts his wedding from the weekend I feel like I just can’t compete.  If I can say one thing to any new photographer working professionally or not, trust yourself and love your work.  Know that you are doing a great job and most of all never forget that you can keep improving.

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If you don’t mind, how has fotoClient helped you improve your workflow & how have you been using it as a studio management software? This software is fantastic.  I am a smaller photography business so I didn’t need all the extra features other software offered.  When I found fotoClient it was exactly what I was looking for in software.  I wanted something that was simple to use and effective at helping me schedule shoots, track inquiries, and keep me on task when working through my shooting to-dos.  fotoClient offers that along with extremely competitive pricing and tech support.  It makes smaller companies like myself feel important and I highly recommend this software.

 

We built fotoClient to give our customers a powerful, beautiful, and easy to use studio management software. We love hearing from you and would love to connect with you on Facebook, or Twitter. Interested in being a beta testers? Request an invite today: fotoclient.com