Mobile tools for the wedding photographer
1 Portfolio presentation tools
As photographers struggle with the slumping economy and an ever-increasingly competitive landscape, wedding photography seems to be one of the industry’s steadier income streams. People continue to get married and most hire photographers to capture their special day.
Of course, photographers also face competition from, and frustration with, wedding guests, some toting DSLRs, and armies of others raising their smartphones and tablets at every opportunity.
Despite its challenges, wedding photography can be financially rewarding whether it’s your full-time business or a part-time endeavor. And there are a handful of helpful mobile tools to help you run your business more effectively. Some of the apps I’ve included will be especially useful if you don’t have a dedicated studio and need — or choose — to meet with clients off-site and don’t want to carry a laptop.
Portfolio presentation tools
While your website will likely provide the starting point for clients interested in your work, going mobile with a sample portfolio is useful in a number of ways, not the least of which is that a digital portfolio saves time and money that might otherwise be spent printing sample albums.
When marketing your services at local bridal shows, setting up a tablet (or two) with a sample digital portfolio is a convenient way to exhibit your work. Most portfolio apps are multimedia and can run slideshows, with music, and play video. Naturally, you can always supplement the slideshow with a printed portfolio or two as well.
As mentioned earlier, not everyone has a studio or office space in which to meet potential (or existing) clients, so it’s important to have mobile capabilities. Once you have information about the couple’s upcoming nuptials, you can create a targeted sample portfolio showing weddings you’ve shot at the same venue, the same time of day, etc. Obviously, a bride and groom who are hosting their event in a beautiful garden may not relate to images you’ve shot indoors at an upscale hotel or catering hall.
Of course, these apps go full circle and can be used as presentation tools to show clients the edited collection of their wedding images. But there’s more to the post-wedding sales meeting — and there are more apps for that — you'll see additional suggestions a little further down.
There are as many opinions about the best portfolio app as there are different apps. With that in mind, I've listed several options ranging from free to $15.
Photo Manager Pro
One of the better budget portfolio apps is Photo Manager Pro. Don’t be fooled by the consumer-oriented folder titles (friends, funny, shopping) when you first install the app; they can be renamed and you can create your own color coded and captioned folders. Rather, concentrate on how you want your images organized. They can be sorted, searched, star rated, viewed in slideshows with music—and you can add video files, too. There’s more than meets the eye in this easy-to-use iOS app and the price is right at $2.99.
There are more sophisticated portfolio apps than Prezent, but this iPad presentation tool fits nicely between the most complex and the simplest portfolio apps available. Particularly interesting, given the multi-media nature of photography today, is the ability to combine motion on the same page as a still image, on a separate page or via a link from the main pages where you can show additional images, video or other relevant media.
Your best bet is to create individual pages in Adobe Photoshop or another imaging or graphics program so you can combine content onto a single page, use textures or colors for page backgrounds, add your logo and text. Prezent supports most image formats including JPEG, TIFF, PSD and PNG; you’ll need H.264/MPEG 4 files for video. Set up the “outro” (final) page with your logo, information about you and your work and a link to your website.
Given its capabilities, Prezent is an excellent choice for photographers who want a solid app at an affordable price of $8.99.
Also check out:
FolioBook Photo Portfolio, $12.99 (plus $1.99 in-app purchase for video), iPad only; iOS 5.0 or later
Portfolio for Android, free, Android 3.0 or later (mobiles and tablets 7” and 10”)
Xtrafolio Photo Portfolio Professional, $16.99, iPad only; iOS 4.0 or later