THOUGHTS, STORIES and IDEAS

Focal Blog

Learn more about Focal and our mission to make the photography industry a better place for customers and photographers alike

December 24, 2020

How to revolutionize your photography business

Is your business ready for 2021? Whether you feel ready to bring your photography business into the new year (after the strange year we are in right now) or not, you might not have considered completely revolutionizing everything from your website to workflow. But today, I will convince you why NOW is the best time to revolutionize your approach to your photography business to take you that one step closer to your business goals. 
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December 21, 2020

3 ways to fix your photography website

Having a website is crucial for professional photographers. But it’s not enough just to have one — if you want bookings, you need to make sure you’re doing it right.
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December 17, 2020

"Show your value as a photographer": Focal on the Capture Crew Podcast

New podcast alert! The good folks over at Capture Crew invited our CEO & Founder, Lachlan Shum, to talk about conveying value as a photographer and attracting ideal clients.
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December 14, 2020

Q&A: Car chases and cherry blossoms with Greg Samborski (Victoria, BC)

Greg Samborski is a photography polymath: the kind of lensman who pilots drones as deftly as he rides a motorcycle, shoots weddings as comfortably as street photography, and cut his industry chops in Korea working for the likes of Dior, Netflix, and Google. Now based in Victoria, BC, Samborski is looking to bring his creative approach to a new clientele — one ready for something outside the ordinary.
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December 14, 2020

Marketing 101: How to grow your photography business online

As a photographer, you're probably a creative first and a business person second...or don’t consider yourself a business person at all! That is why I’ve put together this blog post: to give you a short rundown on the essential marketing tips for getting your name out there online and finding your ideal customers.
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November 23, 2020

So, you want to be a wedding photographer: 8 tips for shooting like a pro

Wedding photography comes with its perks: every day’s a celebration. But with that position comes pressure: how do you ensure you’re ready for such a milestone moment? We asked the most talented wedding photographers we know for their advice on how to shooting weddings like a pro.
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November 23, 2020

Capturing moments "that make you feel something": Meet Christin Carruthers

A newborn, family, and wedding photographer from Victoria, BC, Christin Carruthers (Ooh Ooh Darling, Photography) specializes in capturing the memories that will last a lifetime. Her attention to detail and care shines through in all of her work — whether she's perfectly posing infants in her home studio, parents nearby; or capturing newlyweds sharing a kiss under a waterfall.
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November 20, 2020

How to: prepare for your family photoshoot

You have your first family shoot coming up and still so many questions! Whether you feel bad asking your photographer yet another question (which you shouldn’t!), or it is just too embarrassingly close to shoot time to inquire more, this post will be your go-to guide to your family shoot. With insight from one of Victoria, BC’s top photographers, Marlboro Wang, I’ve curated this post to answer all of your pressing family photoshoot-related questions.
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November 15, 2020

The number one mistake every photographer makes

Being a photographer is difficult. You are not only a photographer but a businessperson too. Therefore, you are bound to make some mistakes along the way. Whether you're business savvy or not, if you are a photographer, you are most likely making the number one mistake every photographer makes. But that's okay! Read on to learn what that number one mistake is, and how to stop making it.
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October 28, 2020

How to get more clients

With photography being such a competitive business, it can be hard to stand out among the other photographers in your area and get clients. Especially if you are brand new! But don’t worry. It is possible to start building up your client list at any point in your photography career, and for you, today is that day! This post is going to walk you through how with Focal’s help, you will gain more clients. 
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October 23, 2020

"Photography is the way I communicate": Meet Marlboro Wang

A wedding and family photographer based in Victoria, BC, Marlboro Wang has established a reputation for his grandiose, cinematic approach to capturing couples. You'll notice it in his wedding and engagement photos: breathtaking; each one carefully-staged, not a hair out of place. We caught up with Wang—a longtime Focal user—to hear more of his story.
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October 22, 2020

Q&A: Scottish ceilidhs and safe spaces with Sarah Murdoch (Calgary, AB)

A Calgary-based photographer, Sarah Murdoch has been photographing weddings since 2006. A product of the film era, Murdoch cut her teeth in the darkrooms at the Alberta College of Art and Design. It's that same handcrafted approach she carries into her shoots—"the biggest goal in my business is to create photos that are timeless," she says. "I want realness, I want authenticity, and I want to tell people's stories."
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October 13, 2020

4 reasons you need a photography mentor

Whether you want to boost your photography skills or grow your network, a mentor is a great way to take the next step in your business. Along with 4 reasons why you need a photographer, I share the necessary questions you need to ask yourself before searching for a mentor to get the most out of the experience, and also a few places where you can find the right one for you.
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October 2, 2020

6 tips for boosting your social media

When running a photography business, social media plays a critical role in gaining clients and building relationships with other photographers. So, here are 6 helpful tips for boosting your social media game.
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September 18, 2020

The biggest fix you can make to your photography portfolio

It’s almost always the first question customers ask: how much do you charge, and for how many photos? Like it or not, we’re a price-shopping bunch — and when we buy, we want to get the best deal. Thing is, it’s a terrible approach for photography. It’s just about reframing the conversation.
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September 18, 2020

Ask Marlboro: Should I charge for photos on top of my session fees?

Oft-debated in the photography industry is whether photographers should be charging for photos on top of session fees, or if the pricing should all be rolled into one. It’s a question veteran photographer Marlboro Wang has been asked more than once. Read on for why he opts for the all-inclusive approach.
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September 14, 2020

5 tips for starting a photography blog

As a photographer, a blog is an easy and fun way to engage with potential customers and other photographers. So, if you have ever asked yourself, is it even worth it for me to start a blog? The answer is yes! Here are 5 essential tips to help you start your photography blog.
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September 9, 2020

Q&A: Astros and hip-hop photography with Todd Spoth (Houston, TX)

A self-described punk rock kid from Houston, Todd Spoth's high school photography course was “literally the only class I’ve ever failed,” he says. Today, Spoth is a Gold Remi award-winning documentary film producer whose photographs have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and ESPN.
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September 2, 2020

6 tips for becoming a full-time photographer

Do you dream of making the transition from part-time to full-time photographer? Do you have no idea where to start? Before quitting your day job and pursuing photography full-time, read these helpful tips with insight from Marlboro Wang, one of Victoria, BC’s top photographers and a Focal partner.
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August 28, 2020

Want better photos? Crank up your ISO

Every digital sensor has a base ISO where the camera performs best. Nowadays, that’s usually 800. Anything less — 50, 100, 200, 400 — and the camera is simply faking it. It’s only adding or reducing the grains to imitate a look. A higher ISO evens out your exposure and leads to a smoother distribution of light.
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August 25, 2020

Q&A: Chasing summer with photographer Rob Wilson (Victoria, BC)

Victoria-based photographer Rob Wilson is obsessed with "that feeling — like a late summer evening." It's there in the photos he captures, whether he's shooting weddings, portraits, or his travels. Raised in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, Wilson is the co-founder of Arcas Media, a production collective specializing in photography, videography, and graphic design.
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August 21, 2020

How to: Use golden hour

How do you use golden hour? What is it? When is it? What types of settings should my camera be set to? Golden hour is a fantastic opportunity for photographers to learn how to utilize natural light and be creative. Before you can have fun though, it is important to learn the what, when, why, and how's of this magical time. Read on for the answers!
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August 12, 2020

6 places to go for your next photoshoot around Victoria, BC

Need a bit of inspiration before you head out the door with your camera? Looking for the perfect place in Victoria for a family or engagement shoot? We’ve got you covered with a list of stellar options in and around the city that will bring your next photoshoot to life.
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July 2, 2020

Headshots vs. personal branding photography

A common mix-up for customers looking to hire a professional photographer for self-portraits is the terminology of “headshots” and “personal branding” photography. We've covered everything you need to know in order to choose the right one for you.
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June 10, 2020

Best family photography locations around Victoria, BC

With summer's arrival on Vancouver Island, it's the perfect time to gather your family for a morning, afternoon, or evening and make some memories! Discover the best locations for family photoshoots in Victoria.
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June 10, 2020

How to choose the perfect wedding photographer

With so many wedding photographers out there, each with their own plethora of packages and options to choose from, it can often be daunting to tell the difference. Thankfully, Focal is here to help!
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May 28, 2020

Conquering COVID-19: How to book more small photoshoots and grow your revenue by up to $10,000 a year

With the COVID-19 pandemic profoundly impacting this year’s wedding season, photographers everywhere are trying to find new ways to make up for lost income. At Focal, we’ve had good success helping our partner photographers grow their business through booking more small shoots. Here's how our top photographer grew their income by just over $10,000 in 2019.
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April 29, 2020

Top outdoor elopement locations in Victoria, BC

Love isn't cancelled due to COVID-19. Every day, our team is surprised by the beautiful and incredible ways that couples are finding to forge ahead and celebrate their love. Looking to ditch the big ceremony? Discover the top outdoor elopement locations around Victoria.
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April 22, 2020

Victoria, BC takeout inspo

Staying home doesn't have to mean cooking during COVID-19. In the spirit of supporting our beloved friends in the food service industry, the Focal team wanted to share some of our favourite places for takeout in Victoria. (Don't blame us if you get hungry.)
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April 20, 2020

Why Apple’s Keynote is a super awesome design tool disguised as presentation software

Our Focal team just finished an eight-month software development project building the latest iteration of our e-commerce and marketplace platform. We designed our whole project without any designers or UX developers. The magic tool? Apple’s Keynote.
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April 12, 2020

Starling Lane Vineyard wedding venue photo walkthrough

Timeless elegance meets natural beauty at Starling Lane Vineyards where you’ll be transported into a fairytale world filled with antique buildings and blossoming flowers. Just outside Victoria BC, this gorgeous venue offers a tranquil setting for your ceremony and is only a short drive away from town should you desire a lively reception.
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April 10, 2020

How I learned to code: 8 lessons from a non-technical founder

Since I can remember I always dreamed about building an iPhone app and launching it on the App store. But I always just had one little problem...I didn’t know how to code! Here are my 8 lessons for learning to code as a non-technical founder.
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April 9, 2020

How working for a startup was invaluable to my education: The top 5 things I've learned working at Focal

Like many University students, I finished my schooling for the year in April and was eagerly hunting for a summer Co-op. I hunted and hunted for Co-ops but everything that interested me was either too far away or required more education than I had at the time. Just as I was considering moving back home and re-applying for one of my previous jobs. I received an email advertising a summer position with Focal...
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April 5, 2020

Merridale Cidery and Distillery wedding venue photo walkthrough

If the idea of getting married in front of a castle or at a fancy hotel strikes you as a touch over the top, then the Merridale Cidery and Distillery might be the perfect venue for your wedding. This secluded cidery & distillery is just a little ways up Vancouver Island from Victoria in the area of Mill Bay.
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April 1, 2020

Summary of COVID-19 government support benefits: a guide for BC photographers

Sadly, COVID-19 has had a huge negative impact on the photography industry with few, if any photoshoots taking place. This situation is not expected to resolve itself over the short-term. The following article details the COVID-19 government support initiatives which are most relevant to BC based photographers.
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March 30, 2020

Introducing the new Focal marketplace platform

We heard photographers wanted their own branding and control over managing their portfolio and packages. They also wanted the ability to talk to customers directly. We put those things at the top of our development list. This isn’t just a new website and some software. It speaks to our responsibility to always improve, our value for art, and our never-ending commitment to our photographers.
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March 11, 2020

10 tips for creating a photography portfolio and packages that customers want to book

At Focal, we believe passionately that a photographer’s website and their “packages” are the two most important touch points to show customers what makes you special as a photographer. Here are Focal’s 10 tips to help you build a photography portfolio and packages that customers want to book.
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February 28, 2020

Focal photographers' most Instagramable locations in Victoria, BC

We teamed up with our photographers to come up with the most instagramable locations in Victoria, BC Canada!
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February 28, 2020

What to expect when you're expecting: a newborn photography shoot

Having a baby is a huge lifestyle change and the last thing you want when you’re a new parent is unnecessary stress. That’s why we sat down with Focal Photographer Christin to answer some of the most common questions she gets asked from new parents booking their child’s first Professional photoshoot!
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February 28, 2020

Bat Mitzvah Bash!

Coming of age is a truly unique point in any young person's life and it was our pleasure to capture this special memory together. Being apart of an event that brings family and friends from all over the world is something that we love to capture. Have a look at this beautiful Bat Mitzvah down below!
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February 28, 2020

Destination pre-wedding featuring horse and carriage

This shoot saw the Focal team travel around Victoria with an amazing couple starting from Schwartz bay at 9 am and finishing up at parliament just after sunset capturing pre-wedding photos the entire way.
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February 27, 2020

Why I built this

The story that made me so passionate about building Focal to help photographers and ultimately work to make the photography industry a better and fairer place.
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February 25, 2020

Focal on Beers With Entrepreneurs

Listen to our appearance on Beers with Entrepreneurs a podcast that explores up and coming startups!
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February 25, 2020

Don't make these 7 mistakes when booking a wedding photographer

It’s always sad to see couples disappointed by their wedding photography and it seems like it happens far too often, so the team at Focal has created a quick guide to avoid some of the common pitfalls of hiring a wedding photographer. Here are 7 common mistakes to avoid when choosing your wedding photographer!
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February 25, 2020

5 reasons you need a 2nd photographer for your wedding

As if choosing the perfect wedding photographer wasn’t too much work! Now your photographer is asking if you’d like to add on a 2nd shooter! You’re probably thinking - I just spent all this time finding someone with the style I like, is a good personality match and fits my budget! Why on earth would I need a 2nd photographer?
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February 24, 2020

How your photography pricing is losing you dream clients

When a client wants to book a photography package for $1,000, it’s hard for them to understand everything involved in the production. What's missing is the story. What makes your photo sessions a unique experience?
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February 24, 2020

How to choose a newborn photographer

Newborn photography can be a big investment. Doing your research and asking the right questions is extremely important — especially when you are going to be trusting someone with your baby. Here are ten things to ask potential newborn photographers, and the types of answers you should look for.
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February 24, 2020

4 steps to help you find your unique value as a photographer

You can’t be the perfect photographer for everyone. That’s just a fact. So instead, focus on what makes you special and convey that to customers.
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February 24, 2020

You aren't just buying photos!

To compare photographers based solely on the number of photos they offer is like comparing houses based solely on their square footage, or two meals based on their size. You're missing the good stuff!
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