Seven EZ Tips for Fantastic Photos
Perusing some of the photos on florists' websites just goes to show that some are truly great floral designers.
But they are truly terrible photographers.
Luckily, lots of great floral photographers are out there, too. And they are more than willing to share their knowledge to help out their brethren.
We took a quick look through the FlowerChat archives to cull some of the best suggestions. We also looked at what other experts recommend.
Read on for awesome advice on improving your photo-shooting skills:
1) Use a decent camera--not your phone. You need to be able to adjust at least a few settings on your camera. And while your smart phone or iPhone is very convenient, it can't offer the same versatility of even a very inexpensive digital camera.
2) Get a tripod. You can purchase tripods fairly inexpensively, and doing so will be well worth the investment. Using one will ensure your photos are always crisp and in focus.
3) Determine where you'll take your photos.
Option 1) Create a permanent photo "studio" in a convenient location. Convenience is key. If the spot is in the basement or a hard-to-reach storage area, you will be less likely to use it.
A major benefit to a permanent spot is that you can create a background using very inexpensive materials. For example, one florist wrote, "I built mine from 12 48x1/2" PVC pieces. 8 'corner' PVC connectors, and 1$/yard white fabric from wally world. Think it cost about $10 or so."
Another offered the following: "Our walk in cooler's outside is white, we found an inexpense wood pedestal stand to place arrangements on and we take the pictures up against the cooler. Works out well with little to no investment. For the bigger arrangements we have a folding card table we cover with a white heavy table cloth. Also a fellow florist in town hung a 1/2 circle shower rod from her ceiling and placed a heavy white sheet on it, when pulled it makes a 1/2 circle shape that blocks out the shadows from the natural light and works quite well. When not in use she simple slides it all back."
Another member uses a 4-foot-by-8-foot piece of laminate as a backdrop.
Option 2) Purchase an EZcube light box. If you can't set up a permanent spot, consider one of these pop-up options. While pricey, florists who owned them raved about their ease of use. Their most-recommended advice? Purchase the 40-inch version to make sure you can shoot large designs.
4) Get good lights. Take note of what the folks that sell the EZcube say about lighting: "You have probably already discovered that an on-camera flash does not lead to good flower photos. Not only is the camera's flash too bright at such a close distance, but it is probably in the wrong position to actually light up the flowers properly."
Thus, the EZcube experts suggest purchasing a pair of clamp-on lamps and fitting them with "daylight-balanced," compact-fluorescent bulbs. "Not only do they provide nice, natural-colored light," the site says, "but they produce very little heat so they can be left on for long photo sessions without overheating the flowers, the camera or the photographer."
If you can't locate daylight-balanced compact fluorescents, substitute standard 100-watt bulbs and adjust your camera's white balance (WB) setting to compensate for the yellow haze those bulbs cast.
With an EZcube, you'll position the lights on either side of the box, which will diffuse the glare and evenly light the flowers without harsh shadows. If you aren't using an EZcube and want to create an inexpensive light diffuser on the cheap, check out this foodie's site for tips.
5) Vary your camera setting. Don't rely on that tiny screen on your camera to determine if the lighting looks appropriate. You won't know whether the image is too dark or too light until you have it downloaded on your computer. (And, yes, you can adjust the photo in whatever imaging software you use, but it's a lot easier to simply take a good photo.) Shoot at least three shots of your arrangement, each at a different exposure. Take one at your camera's default setting (0). Then, take a second after adjusting the exposure one click lighter (+) and a third darker (-).
6) Adjust your angle. If you take a photo looking directly at the flower arrangement, you'll likely have a great deal of vase filling the frame. Instead, bring your tripod up slightly so that you are looking down at the arrangment from an angle. Don't go so high that you only see a bird's eye view of the bouquet. Vary your angle so you see some of both.
7) Vary your foliage. A FlowerChatter offered this advice. "If you can work some variegated greenery into your designs, they'll show up more in your photos. We started using a lot more variegated pitt, and pitt nigra and even hostas in summer. It's amazing how much lighter it makes the photos - greens actually show up more."
Have some tips that have made photographing flowers hassle-free at your shop? Share them with me and I'll spread the word. Send me a note at email@example.com.
Are You Using Email Marketing to Boost Business?
The value of email marketing comes up regularly on FlowerChat. The reason? Because it works! Many florists rely on the tactic to generate business by reminding customers of upcoming events they might not remember without the tickle.
Holidays will soon be upon us. Now is a good time to start thinking about your email marketing campaigns. Sit down with your calendar and note when the holidays are. Then identify which dates are best to remind folks about that event.
For example, some florists have identified that certain holidays―such as Boss's Day (this year on Tuesday, Oct. 16)―don't trigger purchasing for customers if they send out the reminders too early. Other holidays get the best response when you send a reminder farther in advance.
Want some additional tips? Here's what FlowerChatters offered up:
- "My best advice is to create an email template with links to ALL of your social media and website in the signature section (easy to do if you use gmail, even better if you use a service such as IContact or constant contact). All of these things work together and not everybody is on Facebook but may be on Twitter. Keeping up with ALL of the social media means that you are reaching the widest audience possible...ALWAYS use BCC if you send out a mass email."
- "From what I read you have to have a common theme throughout all of your media. If you are promoting a certain product in your email it should be featured on your website, tweeted, facebooked, and shown in your shop too. We do this with our arrangement of the month, and a few other things... We do a monthly newsletter, I started a new section called 'ask the experts' that people seem to like. I really just make up the questions LOL have not had anyone ask me one yet. You know those constant contact commercials where the customers just go on and on about the great emails? I would say we hear that about once a week or more around here. I have even copied old blog posts when I am short on ideas. I don't have it all figured out yet but my open rate is about 15%, I need to target better so I can get that up."
"Overuse of emails is deadly.....be specific, make sure your recips are intrigued enough to WANT to open them! 'Fine print' in emails can be very destructive...keep them short,and focused, and with positive value,and they are just as effective as any other media!"
- "Email marketing is not going away - in fact it's probably more important now than ever! A key to effective marketing is using several channels, with a consistent message, and having them support each other. For example, your email marketing might mention a blog post that contains a video also shared on YouTube and Facebook. Of course, you will have tweeted about the blog post and the video, and your email piece will include links to everything. Now the customer gets to decide how they want to receive and digest your messaging!"
- "We have over 3000 emails and use it 2 - 3 times a month. It takes 26 touches a year to keep someone in your camp, so email campaigns help with those touches. Don't overdo it and don't send for no reason at all. I do holiday newsletters/promotions and then send 3 emails holiday specific with soft call to action. First one, one week from holiday, second 3 days out and the third on the last morning of the holiday. The last and final has a hard call to action. Examples: No flowers = sleeping on couch, Do you want that phone call from Phone?, No Easter desert for you!, Santa skips those who don't buy flowers! The title let's people know that it's you (usually) and they can act or not. Our final campaign for VD (14th) got us 5 orders that morning just from the couch title. I also send all of mine at 6 AM. People used to say Monday's we're the best days at AM, but I've moved mine to Thursdays (low email day) Monday and Friday's emails are always overloaded. I think it's worth the small investment that it is for the money."
What advice can you share about your email marketing campaigns? Have questions? Send me a note and we'll find out what advice your florist friends can offer!
Discussions You Don't Want to Miss
Been out of touch with the hot topics being discussed in the FlowerChat forums? We've got you covered! Check 'em out here:
Teleflora and Team Floral
I am in the middle of the Team Floral Teleflora conference. One of the details is a free 30 minute consult with a team floral rep, my one is scheduled for next week. Because this is through Teleflora I am skeptical that the information will get back to Teleflora or there is something I have never considered. Have Teleflora done a really good thing to help florists or am I just too cynical. Has anybody done this already and what is...
Flower Shop Network
I've never sent international order with them.So can't say how they are on that aspect. Other wise I'm very happy with FSN.
The Price Is Right and Teleflora.
Just walked out to my dads place and he was watching The Price is Right. In one of the showcases they started out with Flowers for a Year. Recieve one Teleflora arrangement designed and delivered by a local florist. Good job Teleflora.
ProFlowers and Teleflora
And they are not trying to hide it. What so many forget is that 85% or more member shops want more orders and @@@@@ when their check is not big enough. They are giving them what they want, I don't agree with them but just stating the facts. I have sat down with shop owners and crunched numbers for 15 years, almost all of them agreed. But few if any changed habits. You either have to work the system, being ethical in what you do, or get out. Most just don't know better and are afraid of consequen
Inspired by J's video with the deco beads shown here ...We've tried beads before, but it didn't go over well. Maybe not using them the right way. Looking for new inexpensive ways to use these colorful guys. Have a batch of orange beads swelling now. Any pictures or stories from what you've done?
Converting Mercury system to independent software
We have a 5 station Merc system that we just paid off. We've had 3 servers so far 1 new when installed 2 refurbished,now i need another server as i only have 1 working usb port but ftd won't replace as my warantee is up. There solution is to replace with a $8500 new server (basically half a new pos system) the ftd scheme is to adjust your credit card rates and stop legacy fee so this won't cost a thing ,but if my pos stations break the whole thing starts over again as you have to buy pos pc...
Purchasing flowers in bulk for wedding
We get a lot of these requests as well. Usually a bride will come in asking for the personal flowers and say they plan on getting the reception flowers from Sam's to DIY. I offer our bulk pricing options at that point. It's a 2x mark up instead of 3x. They have to purchase in bunch quantities to get this price. I sell the fact that we correctly process and store the flowers, that all the flowers will coordinated since we're ordering everything, and that we take care of any issues if (like...
New york state florists
Just received a link to this publication via e-mail. It's from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Anyone having trouble understanding it? Looks like we are supposed to charge sales tax based on where the flower delivery is going and not based on what county our flower shop is located. We are not wire service so that section does not apply to us. I wrote my accountant on it and had him explain...
Thanks for taking the time to read our little missive!. Until next week, keep your business blooming!
FlowerChat Community Manager
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How to Attract More Web
Traffic--Week Seven's Lesson: Get a Blog
Having your own blog is a critical part of attracting attention to your website. So we made that the topic of this week's lesson in our nine-week series focused on that goal.
You can start from the beginning or jump in when you have time. Just click below to get started or catch up:
Floral Quote of the Week
"The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness."
―Therese of Lisieux
FlowerChat Tip of the Week:
Sometimes, all you need is a good chuckle to remind you that life ain't so bad after all. When you have such a need, head over to FlowerChat where members have a special forum in which to post jokes to tickle your funny bone.
How to Cheer Yourself Up!
When you come across a tidbit that tickles you, make sure you take a minue to post it to add a bit of cheer to your fellow FlowerChatters' day, too.
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