Photography Blog

4 simple steps to improve your photography that anyone can do starting today.
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4 simple steps to improve your photography that anyone can do starting today.

What’s going on everybody, Shane Baker with Shane Baker Studios. It might be a little loud, I am at a Starbucks, just doing some editing for a client. But I wanted to give you guys just a couple of simple tips— 4 simple tips to improve your photography. I know that as photographers or brand new photographers, oftentimes, we pick up a camera, and we’re looking for some simple ways to grow, and we see all these great images online. So I’m going to give you guys 4 simple things that you can do today to help improve your photography.

 

So the first thing is obviously Shoot as often as possible. Here’s the thing: Joel Grimes— if you guys don’t know Joel Grimes, he’s one of the top photographers here in the valley and I went to a meeting that he was hosting and one of the things that he said was that top tier photographers at his level, the upper echelon— one of the things that they do is they try to shoot a personal project once a week. That kind of blew me away, that these guys are incredibly busy, they got a lot of things going on and they’re trying to shoot one project a week.

 

When I thought about it, if you’re shooting 52 times a year; a personal project versus somebody who’s making time for just one photoshoot a month, you get 52 opportunities versus 12 opportunities to go ahead and improve your photography. That’s the first thing I can suggest for you guys.

 

The other thing is go ahead and ask to assist other photographers. Find photographers that you really enjoy either their work ethic, or you love their photography, maybe they’re at a level that you wanna be at your own photography, and start asking them if you can assist them on their photoshoots.

 

The other thing I’m going to recommend, the third thing is Start Saying No. It sounds kind of weird, but hear me out. When I first started photography, I would shoot absolutely everything. And I very quickly realized there are some things that I love to shoot and some things that I didn’t love to shoot. And when I started to say no to the things that didn’t give me energy, I had time to do the things that I wanted to do. And it allowed me to grow in my photography. I was passionate about the photoshoots that I was doing because I loved them and I started saying no to the photoshoots that just didn’t feed me. So that’s the other thing that I would suggest to you guys.

 

And the fourth and final thing is You guys have to start asking— I’m not saying that you have to, but I’m going to suggest you guys start asking for Constructive Feedback. What I mean by that is— I am not asking you to go and reach out to somebody and say, “Hey, what do you think about this image?,” with the expectation that they’re going to tell you that they love it, that they’ll say that it’s amazing and great. I’m going to ask you guys to ask for constructive feedback. Sometimes, that may not be something that you want to hear. You may hear things from the person that may kind of hurt a little bit because it’s your photography, it’s your image, but it’s going to be very, very helpful.

 

Now here’s the caveat: you can’t just ask anybody for constructive feedback. The people you need to be asking for constructive feedback from are those who are already doing what you things you want to do, at the level that you want to be doing it at. So, here’s what I mean by that: i.e. you’re a portrait photographer and you’re asking for constructive feedback from another photographer who’s just getting into the business, and he’s just starting. It doesn’t make any sense. What are they going to have to tell you that’s going to help you grow in the industry? So, make sure that you’re asking constructive feedback from people that are at the level that you want to be at and are doing things currently that you want to be doing. That’s my big tip for you guys.


Top 50 Photo Shoot Locations Near Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix—the economic, cultural, and historical powerhouse of Arizona—charms the locals and passing travelers alike for its southwestern vibe and rich Native American heritage. 

South of the Grand Canyon, the Valley of the Sun is the gateway to United State of America’s immense work of Mother Nature. But the Grand Canyon is only one of the countless places you must visit when you find yourself in the Southwest. And why not indulge in a little photo op while you are at it?

What we have here are the top 50 photo shoot locations in Phoenix.

Some things to keep in mind when considering this list:

  1. This is not a list of free places to shoot. Some require fees.  
  2. Many spaces require permits. Arizona does not enforce that law to the same extent that other states do but be aware that many places you want to use may require a permit.
  3. Before traveling to a location to shoot be sure you do your best to get permission. Speak to employees at the location, make phone calls, send emails or message them on social media. 
  4. I’ve asked for permission, was told yes, did the shoot and was later told by other photographers that they had tried to shoot in that same location and were told no.  I don’t know every reason why one photographer would be told yes and another would be told no. 

 

If you want some insight into how others gain access to locations, I’ll share my process. 
I start by understanding that no matter the guidelines and rules, you’re dealing with people. And if you can share a vision of what you’re doing with them and get them excited about it, you can often have exceptions made in your favor.  
Here is how my introduction might sound, “Hi, my name is Shane Baker. I’m a local photographer.  I was (driving by, saw your space online, had a friend tell me about you, etc). What are you guidelines on photoshoots at your location?”

At this point they either tell you to just come out and use it or they tell you what type of permits or permissions you need. Sometimes you need to speak to someone other than them. Always find out if they are the decision maker. That’s the person you want to speak with.  Once I’m talking with the decision maker, they usually go over whatever the first person already told me (permits, guidelines, etc).  Most of the time it’s straight forward enough that I can just come out and do my shoot.  Sometimes they ask to be named temporarily on your liability insurance in case something happens while I’m shooting on their property. It’s cheap, so if you like it enough, just call your agent and he should be able to add them quickly for a small fee.

If they say no or I can sense that they are hesitant I might say something like, “Are you actively marketing the property?” 
Almost always they say yes. 
“I know that can be expensive. Here’s a thought. I know you haven’t looked at my work online yet, but if you have your cell phone on you or a laptop I’d like to quickly share a few ways I might be able to help you with your marketing goal and get some really incredible images for you.  Ok so my website is shanebakerstudios.com.”  
At this point they are intrigued.  I’ve spend alot of time and made alot of incremental improvements over the years to my website. When they look at it they instantly realize they are talking to someone who is serious about great photography. 
“Obviously you want to have great content that matches the quality of your space. That’s something we have in common.  If you have a few more seconds, you’ll notice that my IG and FB have a combined following of over 12,000 people. Have you guys been looking for more leverage on social media to get the word out about your place?”
At this point I can almost see them nodding their heads on the phone. This is when the conversation usually opens up and they start sharing more about THEIR goals and what they are looking to accomplish. If I’m asking to shoot clients, I offer to take a few images just for them, either with my clients in it or without.  If it’s a personal project I share the concepts with them. I tie their marketing goals together with my ability to shoot at their location. 
In the end make sure you’re presenting them with high quality work and help make this a fun experience for them as well. If they are fans of photography ask them to come out and join you. Make it fun and worthwhile for them and you’ll find yourself having doors opened for you that are closed for others. Happy shooting!


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Ahwatukee

1. South Mountain

Home to South Mountain, Ahwatukee makes you live in an instagrammable moment. Visit this place with the early morning or late afternoon light in mind. Experience how the light plays with the surroundings. Everything turns golden. And when it does, you take a moment of solitude and then snap some photos. Better yet, relive this moment by being part of the frame and not behind the camera. At your background are the mountains, hiking trails, and desert characters.

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Apache Junction

2. Superstition Mountains

Located in the east of the metropolitan Phoenix, the Superstition Mountains is a popular pick for many locals. The mountain ranges glow at the right time of the day, which makes them an awesome setting for a pictorial.

3. Lost Dutchman State Park

Located near the Superstition Mountains, Lost Dutchman State Park boasts itself for having varied trails suitable for any trekking enthusiasts. Its wild native landscape provides countless opportunity for photographable, photographic moments.


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Chandler

4. Desert Breeze Park

This is especially appealing for family or kid portraits. Kids are easier to photograph when they are surrounded with something that thrill them. The park has locomotive and carousel rides that the kids surely love. There are pools too.  You might need your zoom lens in this case.  For family picnic photo ops, the park comes with a manicured lawn by the pond. With a little art direction, your subject will surely make the place extra special.

5. Veterans Oasis Park

Featuring 113 acres of dry habitat and lush marshlands, Veterans Oasis Park is home to various fauna and flora. Whether you have a family portrait or kid’s portrait or an engagement shoot in mind, this park is so vast that you won’t run out of frames and ideas.

6. Tumbleweed Ranch Park

There is a rise of rustic farms photo shoot nowadays. And it so happens that Tumbleweed Rach Park has that vibe and feel. There is an abundance of tree canopies that really make a charming background for your portraits. This place is perfect for expecting parents’ photo op, family portraits, engaged couples’, or even a fun fashion photography.

7. Downtown Chandler

There is a certain appeal in downtown Chandler. It might look too ordinary at first but look harder and you will definitely find old buildings with their unique arches, columns, and textures. Downtown Chandler charms visitors with its vintage-designed lanterns, trellis-canopied pathways, historical City Hall, and many public spaces, and you can always include these elements in your photos.

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Fountain Hills

8. The Fountain Park

Home to World Famous Fountain, the Fountain Park is a fun location for your next photo shoot. With a land area of 64 acres, the park has a lake, gardens, trees, dam, playground, picnic tables and benches, and all the modern utilities you need. The park offers various backgrounds that can transform your photos into something more magical.

9. McDowell Mountain Regional Park

With 21,099-acre land area, McDowell Mountain Regional Park is a gold mine for photographers. The landscape is simply marvelous. Include the characters of the park in your frames. Be it the gigantic cactus you found along the trail or the wild flowers blooming around.

10. Fountain Hills Lake Overlook Trail

The trail is very forgiving to the knees. Trekking up here should not be a problem for you or your models. At a certain point of the trail, you can see the World Famous Fountain, which adds an extra dynamic of your photos.

11. Dixie Mine Trail

Another adventure- and outdoor-themed photo opportunity in Fountain Hills is the Dixie Mine Trail. You don’t really have to complete the whole trek if the main purpose is a photo shoot. Along the way, there are several angles and frames that you can work with your clients. Cacti in varied shapes and heights, dirt paths, and wild flowers always work wonders in photographs.

12. Fountain Hills Botanical Garden

For something more accessible yet equally rewarding, Fountain Hills Botanical Garden is the place to be. With the 8-acres wild garden, you can spot rock formations, desert flora, and animal life that can be integrated in your photos. Coming here early in the morning or late afternoon is always a treat. The soft light makes everything more marvelous in your viewfinder.

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Gilbert

13. Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch

A thriving and economically plural suburban community, Gilbert has become an attractive place to shoot. Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch for example might be packed with playing kids on weekends or in summer, but it has some quiet nooks and crannies that you can employ in your frames.

14. Water Ranch Lake

Within arm’s reach from the Riparian Preserve is the Water Ranch Lake. To have the water and the trees in your frame is absolutely stunning especially if you schedule your shoot at late afternoon—that moment when the sky, the trees, and the water borrowed some gold from the sun.

15.  Freestone Park

Another favorite destination for locals, Freestone Park can be packed in certain days and hours. But this place is marvelous if you are taking portraits of kids or family. The park has a cascading waterfall falling into a lake; it has trees and manicured lawn that add some depths in your frames. And for some quirky photos, a sports-themed photo op with the kids will be lovely. If you’re shooting fashion or couples, the park has some hidden alcoves that only show themselves up to those who take their time looking.

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Glendale

16. Thunderbird Conservation Park

Thunderbird Conservation Park is a huge 1,185-acre park in the Hedgpeth Hills. Since it is a conservation park dedicated to preserving the desert ecosystem, you can expect that the park has all the natural wonders and biodiversity of a desert environment. When you come at the right season, the blooming wildflowers will make an awesome foreground or framing for your subjects. 

17. Sahuaro Ranch Park

Sahuaro Ranch Park is a favorite pick among locals for a photo shoot, mostly engaged couples and families. Well, it is not hard to figure out why. This park has that rustic and quaint vibe that makes the photos pinteresty and instagrammable. It has a grape vineyard and rows of fruit-bearing trees that simply make the photos more charming and layered. And don’t forget to throw in some male peacocks displaying their grandeur in some frames.

18. Manistee Ranch Park

A popular pick among family, expecting parents, and couples, Manistee Ranch Park has all the right touches and quaintness for a romantic photo shoot. Orange orchards, vines crawling in the trellis, tree canopies, and massive palm trees make an interesting composition. 

19. Glendale Xeriscape Garden

One of the easiest places to have a photo shoot is a garden. Glendale Xeriscape Garden for example has so many vibrant and blooming flowers that can really bring out the colors and romance in your photos.  With the right angles and compositions, your subjects will stand out among the liveliness around.

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Goodyear

20. Estrella Mountain Regional Park

With 19,840 acres of desert and mountains in the park, Estrella Mountain Regional Park is a beautiful destination and setting for your photos. You don’t have to trek, rather just explore the foothills around and pretty sure you can find a composition that your client or subject wants. To reiterate, work with the natural glow of the sun, so the photos come out dreamy and intimate.  

21. The Ziz

The Ziz was  named one of the “Best Public Art Projects in the U.S.” by American for the Arts.  Internationally renowned artist Donald Lipski, created it as an homage to 20th century sculptor Constantin Brancusi.  The size, 60’6″, is the exact distance between home plate and the pitchers mound.  It’s a great choice for baseball lovers who are also fans of incredible public art.  

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Mesa

22. Usery Mountain Regional Park

The characteristics of the desert simply add more depths and nuance in your photos. Usery Mountain Regional Park is a vast 3 648-acres park at the western part of the Goldfield Mountains. It is home to a diversity of plants and wildlife that can be incorporated in your composition for a picturesque snap.

23. Rose Garden at Mesa Community College

A community college for a photo shoot? Come on! Not the campus itself but a romantic nook you can find at Mesa Community College. Its rose garden is the Desert Southwest’s largest collection. It is home to around 9000 rose varieties. You can never go wrong with roses as an integral part of your composition. They make your photos classic and timeless.

24. Desert Trails Park

A 35-acres of a pump track, kid’s skill track, and hiking trails, Desert Trails Park will make a beautiful active and adrenaline-pumped family portrait. The photo session will be a mix of romantic and dramatic desert portraits and adventurous and fun-loving close-ups.

25. Coon Bluff Campground

What makes Coon Bluff Campground spectacular is its dramatic trees and lush marshland. The arching branches of the trees simply coat your photos with more romantic and dreamy feel. Looking for more option? The Salt River runs through the area. Employing it is always advisable.

26. Downtown Mesa

Home to Mesa Art Center, downtown Mesa is a haven for art lovers. Be it the variety of sculptures placed everywhere or the Melting Victorian Wall Mural, downtown Mesa offers endless opportunities for your composition and framing.

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Peoria

27. Lake Pleasant Regional Park

Either it is the lushness of spring or the blazing hues of autumn, Lake Pleasant Regional Park provides those beautiful seasonal moments. The hues make quite an impact in photographs. There are over a dozen of viewpoints to the lake, so you can always pick up the right frames and compositions to your liking.

28. West Wing Mountain Preserve

Why West Wing Mountain Preserve makes a good photo spot? It has this beautiful desert characters, winding and curving walking paths, and lots of crowning trees in its property. All year round the preserve transforms into different tone and moods, which makes it a picture-perfect place.

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Phoenix

29. Scorpion Gulch

Located in South Mountain Park, Scorpion Gulch appeals to the romantics. It is historical and storied. The ruins make a beautiful Pinterest-worthy background for any kind of photo shoot you have in schedule. It can be a family portrait, fashion, or couples.

30. Downtown Phoenix

Some places have interesting characters that can actually work great in your photo ops. Say, downtown Phoenix. The streets are simply full of characters. The walls are vibrant, artistic, and hip that would make a great background for portraits.

31. Papago Park

Yes, Papago Park is popular for a reason. The stunning boulders look magical once the sun bids good-bye. Don’t worry, along the way you can find some intimate enclaves for a romantic photo op.  

32. Phoenix Zoo

You must have the animals in mind. Well, yes, but it can be tricky to have great photos with the wild creatures. But Phoenix Zoo, one of the largest non-profit zoo in the country, has distinct indoor and outdoor ambiance that can add more awesomeness to your photos.  

33. Roosevelt Row Art District

Located in the core of Phoenix, Roosevelt Row Art District is a treasure trove for street art and murals. The area is very walkable, so it is not hard for you to find massive murals to use as the artistic background for your photo session.

34. UStudios

One of the Valley’s largest creative spaces, UStudios puts emphasis on you. They have a variety of gallery spaces and studio that you can rent by an hour. If you are looking for a portrait photographer to shoot the best version of yourself, look no further. The resident photographer and director of the studio, Shane Baker, is an award-winning photographer who has years of experience working with some of the most successful creatives in Phoenix. Visit his site here: shanebakerstudios.com

35. Camelback Mountain

Named as one of top hiking destinations in the country, Camelback Mountain indeed makes you feel awed and wowed for the grandeur of nature. And for this very reason, Camelback Mountain is a popular pick among trekkers and photographers.

36. Dobbins Lookout

Dobbins Lookout is actually part of the massive South Mountains. What makes this place ideal is that there is no need for an arduous trek to go to this place. You can simply drive your way up here with all your gears. Your clients don’t have to sweat it out too. A win-win situation, photography-wise.

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Queen Creek

37. Queen Creek Olive Mill

Who doesn’t dig a photo op amidst rows of olive trees? That makes Queen Creek Olive Mill a popular pick for couples or for families. This gourmet market and restaurant offers day tours to its property. They even hold events. And guess what, yes, they hold weddings.  

38. Pecan Grove

Oh yes, another tree-centered destination. Queen Creek’s Pecan Grove is simply magical. Schedule your photo shoot in this area in autumn. The hue of autumnal leaves gives another layer of magic in your photographs.

39. MD Ranch

How about a horseback riding-themed photo shoot? Riding a horse in a beautiful desert landscape is one for the books. There is something beguiling about photos with horses. They make your photos more dynamic, layered, and storied. If you are in Queen Creek, don’t miss the opportunity of a horse-related photo op. You must call MD Ranch in advance for your booking.

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San Tan Valley

40. Encanterra Country Club

With the Superstition and San Tan mountains teasing the horizon, Encanterra Country Club marriages the allure of holiday-themed and nature-centered photo op. Its Tom Lehman-designed golf course is a perfect setting for couples who dig some swings.

41. San Tan Mountain Regional Park

Whether you shoot a couple, a family, or group of fashionable friends, San Tan Mountain Regional Park provides the right elements for fun, romantic, and engaging photographs. The park has some gorgeous views of the Sonoran Desert. Massive cacti, various trees and shrubs, and dirt paths make this place an ideal place to shoot.

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Scottsdale

42. Taliesin West

Open to the public, Taliesin West is an architectural delight that makes a great setting for your photo op. The interior is sleek and elegant—an awesome place for couples looking for a location for their prenuptial shoot. Outside, it has several themed gardens. There is the Sculpture Garden and the cactus and floral gardens around that can surely turn your photos more vibrant and appealing.

43. Boulders Resort and Spa

Well, this resort and spa is very well-placed. Its surrounding is an oasis. There is a lot of natural movements going on around: the trees, the desert shrubs, the garden, the manicured lawn, and the beautiful boulders at the background turn this resort a core setting for a romantic photo shoot.

44. McDowell Sonoran Preserve

A massive protected and sustainable destination, the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve prides itself for its multi-use and non-motorized trails. This very character of the place makes it ideal for photography. It is easy for you to find a beautiful scenery or intimate landscape that you can use as your background or as your subject. Be warned though that this place can be excruciating in summer. The perfect time to visit is early morning or late afternoon, the golden hours for outdoor photography.

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Surprise

45. White Tank Mountain Regional Park

Get ready to be surprised at Surprise!  Just 45-minutes away from downtown Phoenix, this city is recognized as one of the safest city in the United States and is awarded as Global City of the Year. Within its border is White Tank Mountain Regional Park, which offers 30 000 acres of photographic possibilities and opportunities.

46. Surprise Community Park

Really, a community park for a photo shoot location? Oh, yes!  Remember what Aaron Rose said, “In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” Surprise Community Park has some romantic nooks and crannies. This place is best for family portraits. Or if you have kids as your subjects, the pond is an awesome place for them to play around while you are going nuts with your shutter release.

47. The Marley Park

What makes the Marley Park, also known as Heritage Park, appealing and charming is its manicured lawn and tree-lined paths. The greens definitely make your photos more vibrant and romantic. This is an alternative too for clients who don’t want to do long walks for some photos. A picnic-themed photo shoot is definitely not a bad idea.

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Tempe

48. Hayden Butte Preserve

Otherwise known as “A” Mountain, is located in the southeast of Rio Salado Parkway and Mill Avenue. With a quick hike, you can reap your reward in no time at all. Ideally, it is best to trek the mountain at sundown, so you can two views: the city swimming in the sunset glow and the city glazing in metropolitan light. Don’t forget your aperture around 10 and your shutter speed and ISO low. 😉

49. Mill Avenue

Want to combine the classic art of people-watching and street photography? Then Downtown Tempe is the right place. Mill Avenue district teems with al fresco drinking and dining places. It is not hard to spot some quintessential and quaint shops that will make a beautiful backdraft of your photos.

50. Tempe Town Lake

Bustling with tons of activities, it is not hard to find a good spot to photograph. But if you are looking for some stillness in a place of clamor, Mill Avenue Bridges and the nearby Pedestrian Foot Bridge at Tempe Beach makes a great contrast of the hubbubs around. Practice your slow shutter speed with these two as your subjects. For the tasteful marriage of architecture and art, Tempe Art Center offers some delightful frames for art lovers.


Are you still breathing? That’s quite a long list of places that makes your stay or visit in Phoenix photographically memorably, memorably photographable.


Would you like to collaborate? Fill out the form below





Photography: @shanebakerstudios
Model: @brieannadenman and @ohhlia
Hmua: @sarahhannahmua
Location: @altaparadiseridge
SweatPants/Sunglasses: @cityroyals 
Jewelry: @iwinani


How to get published in fashion magazines

Today I’m going to show you my process for getting my images published in fashion magazines. 

Before we start, I want you to know that I’m not a frequently published photographer and I’ve not been published in a major magazine. 
But I have been published multiple times in small and mid-range publications. My goal is to earn my way into the better known magazines.

 To make that happen I’ve developed a simple process to help me.  As a photographer there are so many things to juggle. Photoshoots, editing, planning, casting calls, marketing and making time to continue to practice and learn. 

Most photographers start off like I did. Hopeful. Imaging that every photoshoot will end up on the cover of a magazine or at least a small spread inside.  The reality is very different. That’s why you’re reading this. You realise that it’s not as simple as you hoped and you’re looking for someway to help improve the odds. 


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Why does being a published photographer matter?

Each of you will have your own reasons for wanting to be published. Here are a few of mine:

  • The popularity of the publication rubs off a bit on you.  Being published in a friends local e-magazine with 5 downloads a month isn’t something anyone will care about. But get into something like Vogue Italia and your brand will benefit. 
  • It’s a simple way to gauge  how good your work is. You’re probably thinking of 2 or 3 magazines that you’d love to see your work in. And they probably publish incredible work from other artists. If you are shooting in a similar fashion and they are passing on your work than it’s a simple way of being told, “Get better”.  This is obviously a simplification but you get the point.
  • The better the publication the better access you have to better talent.  If a model or mua or hairstylist know that shooting with you could lead to them being in a magazine they also love then they’ll want to work with you.  
  • It pushes you artistically.  If you’re stuck in your creativity you can easily find a theme in a magazine for an upcoming submission and use that to guide the direction of a concept. 

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My process for getting published

This is a simple step by step process I created for myself to help increase my odds of being published. Once I created the process, I hired an assistant to manage it. Here is the system I created: 

  1. First create a list of all the magazines you want to submit too. Add as many or as few details as you want.  Have one column for the links for their submission page for easy reference. My list has 184 magazine editors and influencer bloggers on it.


  2. Create a master folder in Google drive for this publication project. 

  3. Inside this master folder, create a folder for each photoshoot with it’s title. In this example the photoshoot folder is “Avant Garde Hair”.  Create a separate folder titled “Work in Progress”. After the photoshoot has been submitted to the first batch of editors, place it here. This way you know which photoshoots are in the process and which ones still need to be submitted to magazine editors for publication.


  4. Click once on a folder containing the individual photoshoot. Click on the details tab. Edit the description and include the credits for everyone who participated in the shoot and any other details.  This is where you keep the details of the shoot for easy reference when submitting to editors.

  5. Pick three editors from your list. Submit your shoot to these three by following the guidelines on their submissions page. 

  6. After you’ve submitted the photoshoot to the first three editors. Move the folder containing the shoot to the “Work in Progress”. This is a simple way to help you track which photos you’ve already submitted.

  7. If the editors haven’t responded in 3 weeks, then submit the shoot to the next three editors you’ve chosen for that particular photoshoot.

  8. Every photoshoot follows this process until they are picked up for publication or they go through the whole list. 

Some basic tips include the following:

Submit your images to magazines that fit the look and feel of your shoot. If you did not create an avant garde image, do not submit it to an avant garde publication.

Read and appreciate the work the editors are publishing.  

Email them back when you get a rejection and thank them for their consideration.

It’s a simple system but it does take effort to maintain.  

There are many benefits to a process like this. It makes sure that my photoshoots live on long after they are shot. I’ve has some collaborations get published a year after the date I shot them.

It’s also a simple way to separate myself from other photographers who don’t go through this type of effort on behalf of all those who shoot with them.  Models, mua’s and stylists know that after they’ve shot with Shane Baker Studios, our work will continue to be shared until we get published or every relevant editor says no. Weeks, months and in some cases a year after our shoot, I’m still putting our collaborations in front of influencers. 

I hired an assistant who does a great job of following this process and that’s given me a lot of leverage.  Keeping up with something like this isn’t a strength of mine. But I do feel it’s important. So hiring someone who is better at this type of thing has helped tremendously. 

Getting an email every once in awhile that a shoot is being published is such a satisfying feeling.  

I hope my process helps inspire you to create your own version for making sure your shoots stay viable and increase your chances of being published.  

If this works for you comment and let us know what you got published and include a link.  
 

Would you like to collaborate? Fill out the form below






Photography: @shanebakerstudios
Model: @brieannadenman and @ohhlia
Hmua: @sarahhannahmua 
Location: @altaparadiseridge 
SweatPants/Sunglasses: @cityroyals 
Jewelry: @iwinani


How to create a photography website using wordpress

Today I’m going to show you how to create a wordpress themed website for your photography, model, makeup or hairstylist business. You can watch the video below or read the step-by-step guide.


There are a lot of options when it comes to creating your website. As a photographer you might be considering something like smugmug or zenfolio. Maybe you’ve looked at squarespace as an option.

I recommend wordpress. Here are my reasons:

  1. Complete customization. With time, you can learn how to change and control every element of your wordpress website. If you’re like me, you love that ability. Using sites like squarespace, zenfolio and others limits the amount of customization you can do. Using these sites, you are trading ease for a high level personalization.  Neither one is better than the other. It just depends on your goals and what purpose your website is going to serve.
  2. SEO. Google makes the rules when it comes to what is important for SEO.  Right now they are making it a priority for websites to be mobile optimized AND fast.Here is a free tool from Google that you can use to check your website performance: https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/I asked a handful of friends who run their sites on a mix of zenfolio, smugmug and other platforms to run this test. They all performed poorly on Google speed test.  When I did a search online to see if there was anyway to improve their scores, the consensus on the forums seems to be no. You’re at the mercy of the companies updating their coding.  Personally I don’t want to wait for someone else to decide whether or not my website is optimized. SEO is a lot more than just mobile optimization and speed.  But all things being equal, if you and a competitor have similar content Google is going to give a boost to whichever of the two of you has a more optimized website.  And they will actively punish the website that isn’t.  If your website is an important piece of your marketing strategy I feel wordpress is your best bet for performance.Here are my scores when I first tested my website:google test my site scoreWordPress allowed me to install plugins that easily altered the coding on my website. After a few weeks of experimenting here are my new scores as of today:seo good scoresI’ve had my scores as high as 98 for mobile and desktop speed. The point is this; within a few weeks I was able to significantly improve my websites scores while my friends who are using zenfolio, smugmug and the other platforms won’t see a boost anytime soon if at all.  I did a search for phrases I want to begin ranking for (best photographer in arizona, best photographer in phoenix, portrait photographer, etc). I made a spreadsheet of every single photographer in my area who ranked page one and two. Then I compared my latest website scores with theirs. I’m outperforming every single one of them after making my updates. Now that my website is in top shape, I can begin adding content like this blog post and begin to make my move to take the top spots away from them and claim page one for my photography business.

Here are the steps to creating your wordpress themed website for your photography, makeup artist, hair stylist or videographer business.

  1. Purchase a domain name. Do not use a free wix site or something similar if you are asking people to pay you!  If you can’t invest a few dollars in yourself than you won’t be able to convince others to invest in you.  Think about it… would you go to a doctor who was using a free site? Of course not!  It’s unprofessional and you wouldn’t trust them. It’s no different with your business.I use GoDaddy.com but there are many options for you to choose from.
  2. Next visit themeforest.net and purchase a theme that fits your needs. Use ‘photography’ as a search term. Even if you aren’t a photographer, you’ll find more portfolio based themes using this term than you will by searching for ‘makeup artist’ or ‘model’.
  3. Connect wordpress.org with your domain name. There are tons of tutorials on how to do this. If you get stuck, call the hosting company you bought your domain from and they will walk you through the process. It’s really simple. One word of caution. WordPress.org is NOT the same as wordpress.com. You’ll need an account with wordpress.org to connect your purchased domain.
  4. Login to the backend of your wordpress site using your username and password you created. You login to your site by typing this into your browser:yourdomainname/wp-admin
    For example, I would enter:shanebakerstudios.com/wp-admin
    Hit enter and you’ll get your login page. Enter your username or email and password you created in step 3.
  5. The first thing your want to do is make sure you version of wordpress and the plugins are up to date. Hover your mouse over ‘Plugins’ and click on ‘Installed plugins’.  You may also see a notification near the top left corner. From here you can make sure the plugins and your wordpress version are up to date.

    plugins
  6. Afterwards hover your mouse over ‘Appearance and click on ‘Theme’.theme upload
  7. Click ‘Add new’

    add new
  8. Click ‘Upload theme’

    upload theme
  9. Click ‘Choose file’

    choose file
  10.  Install the .zip file INSIDE the .zip file you downloaded from themeforest.net. It will most likely be titled the same name as the theme you downloaded.  You might see another .zip file with ‘_child” in the name. Ignore this one unless you are installing a child theme. You can find more info about child themes HERE.
  11. Once your theme is uploaded you can go back to the ‘Theme’ section in the ‘Appearance’ menu and customize your site.  You’ll want to import the demo data. This will give your website the appearance it had when you were browsing themeforest.net.

    customize
  12. You can now experiment with the various ‘Pages’, ‘Posts’ and ‘Portfolio’ sections to further customize your website. Be sure to upload your own images and replace all the content on the pages with your own. 

If you try to upload your theme and you get a .PHP memory error, simply call your host provider and tell them you’re uploading your theme and got this error. They will make an adjustment on their end and you’ll be able to upload your theme afterwards.  

Conclusion: 

WordPress websites might take a little more work to set up than some of the other options available nowadays but the rewards far outway the extra time it takes.  

If you’re a photographer, model, makeup artist, hairstylist, designer or videographer you need a great website that will attract the right clients.  

And if you take the extra steps to optimize your website and practice basic SEO, there is a good chance you will begin to outperform your local competition.  Let’s face it, most artists may be great at what they do but when it comes to the tech and business side of things, they struggle. And maybe you’re one of those. But do these simple steps and you can soon have a website that will WOW potential clients and help you stand out from the competition.  

If you create or update your wordpress website after reading this blog post, share a link in the comments and let me know if this helped you. 

How long and what does it take to rank page one on Google? Follow me as I share the behind the scenes SEO strategies I'm using to find out the answer.


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Shane Baker Studios is an award winning photographer based in Chandler, Arizona. His work includes portrait, fashion, bridal, wedding, real estate and small business branding.