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Photographer Spotlight: Melanie Taylor | Tips for Beautiful Event Photography

Melanie Taylor is a local photographer from the Chicago, IL area who’s passionate about capturing stories on camera. She specializes primarily in event photography, but her talents and experience also span commercial and residential photography, candid and portrait photography, wedding photography, photojournalism,  styled interior architectural photography, and beyond. We sat down with Melanie to pick her brain about what it takes to be a successful professional photographer. We’re excited to share her tips and tricks learned over her 20+ years of experience with you!

Tell me about your journey to becoming a freelance photographer. 

I started shooting in high school. It was back in the days of wet labs and film. My first camera was a Canon AE1 with a 50mm 1.8. I had a big crush on Georgia O’Keeffe and my early work had a lot of flowers. When I started incorporating people, I loved it. I’ve never been much with a brush and paper, so photography gave me creative freedom. I put in years and years of wedding photography for bigger companies before I was comfortable shooting on my own. I got to mentor under lots of different photographers as a second shooter and with that experience, you start to see how to work on the fly.

Melanie_Taylor_PhotographyWhat’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as a photographer?

It’s as much about the images as it is about how you make someone feel about themselves. I once worked with a wedding photographer who had a really big, over the top personality.  He’d exude positivity and enthusiasm, and knew exactly how to make people feel confident and relaxed. He’d be shooting a bride and groom and he’d say  “OH MY GOD– these look so good, you look so amazing,” and just kept the praise going. He did it so well that they believed it, and they felt more confident all day, without even seeing the shots he’d taken.  Half of it is making someone feel like they look really good, and then they’re going to do better for you during the shoot. I tried to absorb that and it’s definitely one of my stronger aspects.

I’ve photographed a lot of families – and sometimes the men can get weird and awkward.  They do this tense smile, and turtle themselves (rigid shoulders and neck) so it’s really important to help them relax and get them into a more natural pose, with the shoulders out, neck back, and a slight turn of the head.  To help them feel more comfortable, it sometimes helps to touch them gently and give them eye contact, which boosts their confidence. Don’t be afraid to say, “You look so good!” and tell them how beautiful their wife and children are. Bring some jokes into it, softly feel out their interests. 95% of the time it’s the women who are booking the shoot, so it’s helpful to quiz them a little bit. Ask what her husband is into, take note of any special interests, ask about his cars, favorite sports, just to have something to talk about.  “Oh, I hear you have this really big truck,” you say — then you can see when someone cracks and you break past that uncomfortable barrier.

Melanie_Taylor_PhotographyWhat’s your favorite subject matter to photograph and why?

I really enjoy photographing events and the people enjoying them. It’s super rewarding to see people interacting and capture their feelings toward each other and the space where it’s all taking place. My favorite event last year was the 4th of July celebration at Rolling Green Country Club. So many happy people, amazing food, beautiful decor, and a huge firework display!

 

 

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a professional photographer?

It can be a highly competitive field. I’m very fortunate to be part of the Happy Tog group. They are like minded photographers who enjoy sharing knowledge and resources. With wedding photography, the biggest challenge is usually managing the client’s expectations and talking them down from anything that’s unrealistic.

Melanie_Taylor_PhotographyHow do you prepare for a wedding shoot? Any rituals or special techniques to get to know the bride and groom beforehand?

When a couple inquires about a wedding, we always meet for coffee first. I want to get to know who they are and if we are a good match. We usually hang for an hour and talk about their priorities for the day. If they have a Pinterest board already, we look at it together. About a month before the date we spend another hour on the phone talking about the timeline and what are realistic expectations within it. The week before the wedding, we confirm addresses. On the wedding day, we relax and have fun!

Any advice for other photographers just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?

Find good mentors and DON’T work for free! There’s nothing like tons of experience to make you better. Just putting those hours under your belt will help you learn to work on the fly and adapt to the environment.

Melanie_Taylor_PhotographyCan you tell me about the most fun photo shoot you’ve ever done? 

Last fall I had the opportunity to take pictures for an engagement. We had so many rainy weekends in a row that scheduling had been a problem. Finally, we had a 2-hour window on a Saturday morning. We tromped through the woods to a spot that had some colorful graffiti I had scouted earlier in the year. Well…now there was a raging stream halfway into it due to the rains. It was unexpected and I have to hand it to the guy, he kneeled down right in it and proposed. The water soaked his pants and shoes and made for an amazing image. It was so beautiful, I couldn’t help but let a couple tears flow!

How do you market your photography business? Can you talk about your social media strategy and what works to secure new clients?

I have my website, MelClicks.com and my Facebook business page. I use social media to tag photos of my clients, and request if they post that they also tag me. I also tag the venue in my posts which helps me build great relationships with the facility coordinators and gives the venue some exposure, too. I find that sharing amazing GIF images works really well for high engagement on social media! Posts with just text, not so much. Also, I have redundancy with my Facebook and blog posts. Jimdo is my website provider and it’s been eye-opening watching the flow of traffic and that 99% of the time it’s being viewed on a mobile device. As always, the best advertising is referrals from former clients.

Melanie-Taylor-PhotographyHow do you stay inspired?

I stay creative by being involved with the local photo community. Sometimes it’s a photo shoot that has nothing to do with my genre that gives me a burst of new ideas. Sure it can be tough to walk into an event where you might not know anyone, but the payoff can be a great new contact!

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Fuji Instax Mini Printer – Print Your Event Photos on the Go!

Want to print your event photos on the go? The new Fuji Instax SHARE Printer lets you instantly transfer photos from your smartphone via Bluetooth so you can print them out on the spot! We love this idea for birthday party favors, photo ops at fundraisers, photo booth prints at summer fairs and festivals, sports games, animal adoption events, holiday photos with Santa or the Easter Bunny, Halloween costume party photos, or capturing memories any special event.

The SP-2 model features high-speed printing in 10 seconds, producing high-quality, high-resolution images with print pixels of 800×600 dots, at 320dpi. You can download Fujifilm’s free Instax SHARE app which lets you print and share your smartphone or tablet images with ease. Then, you can frame your Instax Mini prints in our Instax Mini Photo Frames! These sturdy cardstock frames accommodate Fujifilm Instax Mini Film.

Fuji instax mini print frameWe even have plain white Instax Mini frames that are great for coloring on, or decorating with stickers! This can be a fun activity for the kids at any event.

We’ve got some brand new frame designs, or you can customize your own. Foil stamped personalization on these Instax Mini frames is optional for an additional charge. We can imprint your logo, event name, and date in any of our foil colors on the sturdy cardstock frames.

Click here to browse all of the Fuji Instax Mini Photo Frames available at Studiostyle.com.

 

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Photo Insert Cards – Customer Spotlight: Andrea with ResQDogs Group, Inc.

At Studio Style, we love seeing how our customers use our photo insert cards for their 4×6 photos. We’re always amazed at their creativity — and we truly enjoy when they share their work with us, especially around the holiday season.

Andrea Shaw, President of ResQDogs Group, Inc. uses our photo frame cards to create these beautiful holiday collage cards with photos of her clients’ Airedale Terrier Champion show dogs. She also creates similar photo cards for all dog breeds. What do you think? Leave us a comment, or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

Dog Christmas Card © 2016 ResQDogs Group, Inc.© Bryant Dog Photography & ResQDogs Group, Inc. - Dog Holiday Card

© 2016 Bryant Dog Photography & ResQDogs Group, Inc. - Dog Holiday Card

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For 4″ x 6″ Photos

Traditional paper photo frame cards, also called photo slip in cards or photo holder cards—no glue or tape needed!

Slide your photo into one of our archival photo insert cards and make a personalized greeting that will last. Photo insert greeting cards are great for sharing photos for milestones and holidays, as well as for photographers looking for a professional photo frame card to showcase their photographs. Choose from our exclusive collection of Simplicity blank cards for photographs or our foil stamped Christmas photo holder cards.

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4 Easy Ways to Make Your Own Christmas Photo Card

Each December, we await the rush of holiday greeting cards. From friends, family, neighbors, and even the local business owner, we receive holiday photo cards of all sorts and designs. As a photo card printer, we take particular notice of the quality– especially when it comes to the paper stock.

But how are you to know how thick the card will be if you order it online? Unless you are familiar with paper weights, ordering Christmas photo cards online can be a tricky business. Don’t worry though, Studio Style has you covered. Check out some Christmas photo card paper comparisons below.

Cardstock Photo Cards

Our Christmas photo cards (flat, folded, and tri-fold) are printed on bright white 12 pt. cardstock. How thick is 12 pt. cardstock? About as thick as the average greeting card. Thick enough that you can clip it in a clever Christmas card hanging display, stick in on the Christmas tree, or mail to friends and family (with the included envelopes!). Pssst… Head on over to Pinterest for some creative Christmas card display ideas.Make Your Own Christmas Photo Cards

Holiday Photo Insert Cards

For 4″ x 6″ Photos – Traditional paper photo frame cards, also called photo slip in cards or photo holder cards—no glue or tape needed!

Slide your photo into one of our archival photo insert cards and make a personalized greeting that will last. Photo insert greeting cards are great for sharing photos for milestones and holidays, as well as for photographers looking for a professional photo frame card to showcase their photographs. Choose from our exclusive collection of Simplicity blank cards for photographs or our foil stamped Christmas photo holder cards.folded, and tri-fold) are printed on bright white 12 pt. cardstock.
holiday photo insert cards

 

Christmas Photo Folders – Printed or Foil Stamped

Our holiday-themed photo holders are perfect for packaging your holiday event photography at breakfast with Santa outings and office holiday parties, but they also make nice holiday cards for your 4×6 or 5×7 prints! Choose from festive printed designs like our  Jolly SantaPeppermint Candy, or Christmas Tree – and many more!

christmas photo cards

If you prefer the foil stamped designs, take a look at our quick ship styles like the Red Santa Claus, Silver Snowflakes  and Green Holly.  Our holiday event photo folders are perfect for any Christmas or winter-themed special occasion. Whether you’re planning a company Christmas party, coordinating a customer appreciation banquet, or want to send personalized holiday photo cards to friends and family, our collection of festive Christmas photo folders and photo cards are sure to help spread some cheer.

Santa Christmas Photo Card

Über-thick, 48 pt. ColorThick Christmas Cards

Our 12 pt. cardstock printed photo cards are great for anyone’s Christmas photo greetings, but our ColorThick Christmas photo cards are for those who really mean business. Coming in at a whopping 48 pt. thickness, these cards won’t bend or curl. Your photo and greeting is printed on bright white paper stock, with a colorful, coordinating strip sandwiched in between.

ColorThickCard

 

Does paper thickness matter to you, or is the photo card design more important? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave us a comment below, or drop us a note on our Facebook page.

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How to Grow Your Photography Business with Photo Folders and Paper Picture Frames

If you’re a professional photographer or a photo booth owner, we’d love to help you grow your photography business with our photo folders. They’re a perfect add-on for your events, and it’s easy to incorporate them as an up-sell with your existing photography packages. Contact us at 800-346-3063 to learn more about our wholesale partnership, or sign up here: www.studiostyle.com/photo  (valid resale tax ID # required).

Our photo folders come in foil stamped or full color digital printed designs. Choose from our stock frames, OR create completely custom photo folders with your own logo and artwork. We promise they’ll be a hit at your next special event or celebration, and they’ll help you grow your photography business. From corporate events, weddings, fundraisers, and beyond, here are a few reasons to use our folders:

  1. Boost your revenue. Offering photo folders with your packages adds to your income! You get our custom folders at a wholesale discount, and can sell them at retail value to your clients. They’re a perfect add-on and up-sell!
  2. Print your own logo on the back of the folders. Get lasting exposure for your brand or studio, and send guests home with your business info! This is a great way to ensure referrals from the attendees.
  3. Do your clients want their folders for FREE? Encourage your customers to find photo sponsors to cover the cost of their photo folders and even your rental services.  The sponsor pays for photography costs and in return, their logo and web address are printed on the folder for increased branding exposure with all of the event guests.
  4.  100 + square inches of branding space means you have a LOT more room to print a personal greeting from the bride and groom, corporate branding and sponsor recognition or your own logo than what you’d get with a traditional photo booth template. We even have folders with perforated coupons that can be used for raffles at your events!
  5. Photo folders protect your prints. They ensure that prints from the event aren’t left behind on the floor or a table, bent or ruined from fingerprints or spills. Guests will take home an upscale, personalized keepsake to remember all the fun they had.
  6. Made in the USA – At Studio Style we don’t just sell folders – we make them, too.  Right here in St. Charles, IL. That means we can offer quick turnaround for last minute events (7-10 business days), an in-house art department for design work and best of all … low minimums!

We know you’ll love our photo folders –but don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what a few of our customers are saying:





Want to see some for yourself? We’d love to send you a FREE sample pack with a selection of our most popular printed folders themed for weddings, holiday events, and corporate events. Your kit will include a variety of vertical and horizontal folders for 4×6 and 5×7 prints. We know it’s easier to sell the benefits of custom photo folders to your clients when you have samples in hand to show them. Request your samples now — (while supplies last): Call us at 800-346-3063, or email KevinH@studiostyle.com today! Our team has lots of other ideas to grow your photography business — just ask!

 

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Event Planning: 10 Reasons to Have a Photo Booth

Having a photo booth set up at your venue brings a fun, interactive experience to events and celebrations of all shapes and sizes. From weddings, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs and fundraisers to corporate events, trade shows, festivals and conventions, the modern photo booth entertains guests, captures memories, and provides marketing and branding engagement opportunities for businesses.

At the 2016 WPPI Expo in Las Vegas, Studio Style had a chance to meet up with Ted Llamas, owner of Emoji Photo Box — the Premier Photo Booth Rental Company serving Las Vegas and Southern California.  Ted shared his insights into the events industry, what it’s like to be a photo booth owner, and why photo booths are an essential part of every successful event. “I can’t imagine a big event without a photo booth.  There is so much value to having one,” says Ted.

Top 10 Reasons to Have a Photo Booth at Your Event:

Entertainment value: The novelty of a photo booth is something guests won’t soon forget, and their reactions will prove it. Ted loves hearing his customers remark, “You guys are awesome!” and “Your photo booth is so much fun!”  But what really puts a smile on his face was when a party-goer says, “Man, thank God you were here.  You really made the party!”

Break the Ice: A photo booth gives guests a chance to let loose, have a ton of fun and be themselves.  It’s a great icebreaker activity for guests who may not know one another, and it allows for easy mingling and networking at business events.

Instant Party Favors: Everyone gets to take home at least one (in most cases, many) personalized party favors. If you’re on a budget, skip traditional party favors and let the photos serve as a keepsake. Plus, Studio Style can create custom photo folders to protect your printed event pictures! Send guests home with an elegant photo souvenir that matches your event’s theme.  No need to wait for the photographer to edit the images from the event! With on-site printing, your guests can have hard copies for themselves within seconds.

Emoji Photo BoxFun for All Ages – Young or old, anyone can enjoy a photo booth. The fun themed events are always the birthday parties, according to Ted. “We’ve had a lot of great themes, but one that stands out was a little girl’s 3rd birthday party with The Very Hungry Caterpillar themeWe were able to make the ‘standby’ screen look just like the book, include the hungry caterpillar in the layout and have some props to go along with the theme.  The little girl’s face was priceless –  and to hear her saying, “cat-piller” every time a photo printed out, was just precious.

 

Raise Awareness: One of the most memorable events Ted has serviced was A Walk for Baby Lukey.  The event was a 5K walk/run to raise awareness for Dandy Walker Syndrome.  “A good friend of my cousin lost their infant son, Lucas to DWS. Although the loss of their child was devastating, they planned a wonderful memorial event for their son to raise awareness. The photo booth was placed near the finish line and everyone stopped by to take their silly pictures.  It was a nice touch that played well with their theme of having fun and keeping it light hearted.”

Quick Prints for Everyone– “I think printing on-site is the standard and has always been.  That is the staple of the photo booth,” says Ted. “People who know what a photo booth is will expect a printout, and those who aren’t familiar are blown away when they get a print in 10-12 seconds!” You don’t have to wait for a professional photographer to touch up and edit the images before sharing them with guests. Guests can grab them and go, and you’ll often be able to access your images online as well.

“I’m a big advocate for reprints for when a group of 4 or more enter the booth.  I reprint enough copies for that group, which keeps everyone happy. I have been to a couple of weddings where I’ve taken a big group shot with family members I rarely ever see, and the photo booth operator only allowed two strips for our group of 8.  As a photo booth owner, I was sad to see this happen.”

emoji photo box instagram printOnline + Social Media Sharing – This area has grown over the last few years and it’s only going to get better.  The software available today allows photo booth goers to upload their pictures to Facebook or email themselves right on the booth’s touchscreen, or on a separate iPad kiosk.

There are even a couple of software companies that have designed a way to create a whole subcategory of photo booths, with a “Hashtag Printer Station.”  This is a separate unit comprised of a tablet, software and a printer enclosed in a nice looking box. It allows attendees to print out their own pictures from the event that they’ve already uploaded on Instagram using the specific hashtag of the host (bride/groom, company, etc) wants them to use.  Now the print isn’t your normal 4×6 photo you pick up at Walgreens.  This is a 4×6 (vertical) that looks exactly like your Instagram page, with your name, date, and even has the comments you made.  You can customize this by adding the (bride/groom info/ company info, etc) and your own information like a web address.

Customization: From themed backdrops and green screens to custom props and background templates, there are lots of ways to customize a photo booth experience for any type of event.  “For the event planners looking for a photo booth, all photo booths are not created equal.  Cheaper isn’t always better.  Do some research to find a company that can fulfill your needs.  There are a lot of great photo booth rental companies out there, Emoji Photo Box is just one of them,” says Ted.

Survey Your Guests: Most photo booth software can be customized to include a quick pop-up survey for attendees to complete before their session can start. The questionnaire can ask the guests whatever the host or business wants to know, and shows up right on the photo booth screen. It’s a great way to capture leads or gather important business data from current and potential customers.

Increase Brand EngagementPhoto booths work well for business events when a company or organization is trying to grow their social media presence.  Host an event and encourage everyone to take pictures and upload them to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using a specific hashtag.  When consumers have fun and get engaged with a brand’s photo booth, they also leave with a cool souvenir that has the company’s brand all over it. For businesses, it’s a no-brainer to have a photo booth.  Not only does it get your guests, employees, and customers to interact during the event, but it also builds your brand exponentially.  Ask your guests to tag themselves in the photos on your company Facebook page, or even hashtag your company’s brand and event info on Instagram!

More about Ted and Emoji Photo Box:

How did you get started in the photo booth industry?  What do you love most about it?

I always knew I wanted to own my own business, but never really pinned down what I wanted to do.  One day I was at a CVS waiting for my infant son’s medication and was flipping through a small business magazine.  It was there that I found an ad for owning a photo booth.

After doing this for 4 years, I still love how the photo booth adds life to the party!  Seeing people rush to the photo booth, seeing all kinds of funny faces and introducing the photo booth to those who have never experienced it — (there are always some first timers at every event)– makes me smile.

Tell us about Emoji Photo Box – what sets you apart from other photo booth rentals? 

At Emoji Photo Box, we work as a team to cover all of the business aspects that come with owning a photo booth.  Many companies lack in one area or another.  I truly believe we that we prosper in customer service, communication, social media and staying up to date on new technologies.

Any sage advice for prospective photo booth owners to grow and market their business?

Social media is a must, but high tech doesn’t beat high touch.  Get your booth (and your personality) out there.  Do a free event.  All events you service with your booth can create an opportunity to get you booked on another paid event.

Anything else you’d like to say about photo booths and their impact on the events industry?

Photo booths aren’t going anywhere.  They are just as much a business branding tool as they are a form of entertainment for your guests.

There are a whole lot of photo booth owners out there and that number keeps growing.  I believe this is one of the best small businesses one could own.  I believe it so much, that I sell photo booths to people who are just getting started, or to photo booth owners looking for another booth to add to their fleet.

Even with the growing number of photo booth owners, I still believe that there are enough events for everyone.

We hope these tips help you plan your next event! Have another reason photo booths create fun at any event? Leave us a comment below!  If you need photo booth folders to hold your event photography, we’d love to create them!  Browse our custom photo folders online or give the Studio Style team a call at 1-800-346-3063. Photo Booth for Events

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Sports Photography Ideas

Whether you’re an athlete looking for photo shoot inspiration, or a professional sports photographer, we hope you’ll enjoy these sports photography ideas curated on our Studio Style Pinterest page! 

Once you have your sports photos printed, we’re here to help you present them with custom sports photo folders. Our full line of sports photo folders and frames holds team photos, athlete portraits, and candid action shots from the game. We have elegant photo folder designs for golf, basketball, soccer, football, baseball, cheerleading and dance, hockey, lacrosse, and bowling. If we don’t have a design for your sport, we will gladly create your custom sports photo folder design printed in full color or foil stamped with your artwork.

Customers who use our sports photo frames range from professional sports photographers to schools, park districts and recreation centers, team parents, community and club teams, sports camps, and beyond. Personalize any of our folders with your team logo or school mascot! These are great keepsakes for end of season celebrations, awards night, team banquets, senior photos and graduation, or gifts for coaches and team parents.

Browse Photo Folders by Sport

View our newest sports photo folder designs for:

Golf Photography

golf photography
Golf theme photo folders, holders, and frames for professional golf photography, school golf teams, golf league photos, golf tournaments, fundraisers, and golf events.

Football Photography

football photography
Whether you’re taking football photos for senior night or a junior league awards ceremony, this football-themed photo folder is perfect for holding football photography and candid action images alike. Get these folders as-is, or add your school logo or mascot with optional printed personalization.

Soccer Photography

soccer photography
Soccer photos look great in these custom folders. Protect team photos, athlete portraits, candid action shots from the field, or summer soccer camp photos. Hand out photos to your soccer players at your annual team banquet. Parents will love the keepsake!

Basketball Photography

basketball photography
For athlete portraits, team pictures, or photos from your awards ceremony, these basketball-themed photo folders protect your event photos from fingerprints and smudges. These also work great for any basketball-themed party or fundraiser!

Baseball Photography

baseball photography
From the little leagues to professional ballplayers, this baseball-theme photo folder is perfect for school team photo shoots, summer league portraits, player meet-and-greets, and even adult leagues. Just add your club, team, or school mascot to the front cover.

Hockey Photography

hockey photography
This photo folder is perfect for hockey leagues, events at the ice arena & more. Use as is, or personalize by adding your company name, event, organization and/or logo.

Bowling Photography

bowling photography
The design is hot stamped (imprinted) right onto the front of the folder. This photo folder is perfect for bowling leagues, parties, events at the bowling alley & more. Use as is, or personalize by adding your company name, event, organization and/or logo.

Lacrosse Photography

lacrosse photography
This photo folder is perfect for lacrosse team & individual player pictures. Use as is, or personalize by adding your school or event name, mascot or game date.

Cheerleading, Poms, & Dance Team Photography

Cheerleading Photo Folder
Dance competition? Awards night? Whatever the event, whenever the celebration, your photos matter. Protect those photos from fingerprints or accidental makeup smudges with a personalized photo folder. This pom-pom design is perfect for dance, drill, or cheerleading competitions, as well as awards ceremonies or banquets. Add your team or club name on the front cover in the font shown, or use any words like “Dance” or “Cheerleading.”

 

 

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Golf Tournament Giveaways

Hosting a golf tournament takes a lot of work, but with proper planning, it can be a rewarding fundraiser and promotional opportunity for your charity or organization.  It’s important to keep in mind that the success of this year’s golf outing can impact whether golfers and their guests return again for next year’s event. You’ll want to make sure they are engaged, leave with some great memories, and of course, some great prizes too. Studio Style is here to help make your golf event successful and memorable with these ideas for golf tournament giveaways.

Smile! Golf Tournament Photos Make it Memorable

What better way to help guests remember your event, than with a photo? Hire a local event photographer to take both candid and posed pictures at your golf outing. Print the photos on-site so that guests can take them home the same day. Include your branding and golf event info on photo holders for a personalized souvenir. Let guests know that you’ll also put the photos up online soon after the event, and how they can access the album. This creates a lasting connection between your guests and your organization, and allows for sharing of the images on social media, resulting in further engagement with your brand beyond the event day.

Pro Tip: Free photo hosting platforms like Facebook, Google Photos, Dropbox, Flickr, and SmugMug allow you to easily upload and share your event photos with others.

Golf Gifts
Studio Style has a a variety of photo folders that make perfect golf gifts for your outing. Golfers and tournament attendees will love to see photos from the event! Send them home with tournament photos framed our golf themed photo holders, and make a lasting impression.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golf outing photo ops:

  • At check-in: Set up a photo station with a backdrop that matches theme of your outing, and ask guests to strike a pose as soon as they’re checked in. Include a few themed props for some extra fun photos. Taking your guests’ photos when they arrive is ideal, especially if you’re expecting hot weather. Golfers may be less inclined to pose for a photo op later in the day, after a they’ve spent several hours golfing in the sun. This also gives you time to get the photos printed before they leave.

Pro Tip: A branded photo backdrop can be a great opportunity to sell sponsors, with logo exposure in all event photos.

golf action shot

  • Action shots: Guests will appreciate seeing some action shots from out on the green, too. Have your photographer (or volunteers) capture photos of foursomes and individual golfers during the tournament. Take a selection of candid and posed shots for good variety.
  • With a celebrity: If you’ll have a keynote speaker, or even a golf pro, ask them to pose with golfers. Even having the town mayor attend can add prestige to your event, and create a lasting impression for your guests. If a celebrity is out of your budget, try a cardboard cut-out! It will give event attendees something to laugh about.
  • Rent a photo booth: In between golfing and dinner, allow guests to entertain themselves with a photo booth! Many photo booth rental packages come with a selection props for guests to pose with. If you’re on a tight budget, a DIY photo booth may be a better fit.

Golf Goodie Bags

Custom golf photo holders and paper frames are affordable, personalized giveaways to send home with attendees. These golf themed photo folders and frames can be printed with your event name, date, and even sponsor info, and included in golf goodie bags. Snacks, golf balls, tees and discount coupons from sponsors can also go in your goodie bags. Include a flyer or postcard with info about your charity or organization, a list of your upcoming events, and a nice thank you note showing appreciation for your guests’ participation. Remember to order your photo holders and golf giveaway items at least 1 month ahead of your event date!

Pro tip: Event sponsors can help offset the cost of prizes and promotional materials. Ask sponsors if they’d like to provide branded giveaways like water bottles, imprinted golf balls, bag tags, towels, or ball markers that sport their logo.

Prizes & Awards for Golfers

Golf Award Folder
Golf certificate frames from Studio Style can be imprinted with your golf tournament details

Give out tournament prizes and awards during your lunch or dinner break, or near the end of the event. Trophies, printed award certificates and giveaways add prestige to your golf event or fundraiser. Golf prizes like a putter, cart bag, or gift card to the local pro shop are great for “closest to the hole” and “longest drive” contests, but also try to think beyond what the players and golf enthusiasts would enjoy. Plan some prizes that can be appreciated by their spouses and co-workers, too. For instance, offer a catered lunch for the office from a local eatery, or a gift certificate for an evening of entertainment at a comedy club or theater. This increases the chance that they’ll return next year, and that they’ll bring friends along to share the experience.

Don’t forget about your volunteers! Recognize your tournament planning committee with a special thank you gift. Certificate frames and award folders are a personalized touch for those who worked hard to help you organize a successful golf event.

Pro Tip: Hold a raffle at your tournament to boost your fundraising efforts, and send more guests home with winnings.

Great Prizes Generate Buzz

As you organize your tournament, start promoting your prizes well in advance (2-3 months is ideal). Stir up excitement and list any big ticket items on your website and social media channels, with photos. Ask your fans to share and comment on which prizes they like best. (This also helps you gauge interest for planning next year’s prizes). If you’ve secured a sponsor who’s contributing a buzz-worthy prize, talk it up in your pre-event advertising.  Submit a press release to local media outlets for some bonus coverage on your tournament. Get tournament sponsors to cross promote their contribution and involvement with the event for increased exposure.

Have a question about ordering golf gifts and award frames for your tournament or golf fundraiser? The Studio Style customer service team is here to help! We’ll make sure you receive exactly what you envision for your golf outing. Call us at 1-800-346-3063 or visit www.studiostyle.com to chat with us live!

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Make Your Own Graduation Announcements

DIY Graduation Announcements for 2016

You did it! Graduation marks the end of one chapter, and the start of another. Congrats on your accomplishments — now, let’s celebrate! StudioStyle.com has custom designs for you to create the perfect graduation announcements and grad party invites. The grad cards and and photo holders below can be customized for ALL types of graduations, from kindergarten, Montessori, junior high and middle school, to high school, community college, state university, nursing school, and graduate school.

Printed Graduation Announcements

From modern to classic, we have graduation party invite designs to suit every grad’s taste. To create your graduation photo announcement or party invite, just add your personalized info, and upload your favorite senior picture to one of our templates. Or, you can customize your own graduation announcement from scratch! Available in the most popular school colors, these 5″ x 7″ graduation cards are printed on lightweight, smooth finish card stock paper that is thicker and more durable than traditional photo paper, making them perfect for mailing. Standard white envelopes are included. Design your custom graduation announcements here!

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Graduation Announcement Photo Insert Cards

Just slide your favorite graduation picture into the pocket opening of our photo insert cards for an easy DIY grad party invite! No glue or tape required. Hand write a personalized message on the inside of the card, or have us imprint your name, graduation year, and party details for you. These photo insert cards come in 13 colors with openings for a 4″ x 6″ photo, so you can choose one that coordinates with your school colors.  Browse all photo insert cards here.

Custom graduation announcements

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Graduation Announcement Photo Folders

These black graduation photo folders feature a gold foil graduation cap imprint on the front cover, and can be personalized with your graduation details. Each folder holds one 4 x 6 photo, with your choice of a vertical or horizontal layout.  These paper photo holders make beautiful graduation cards. They’re also an elegant way to protect, store, display & present graduation photos and senior pictures.

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Senior Portrait Folders

If you prefer a blank photo folder with no front cover design, our classic portrait folders are the way to go. These portrait folders are available in black or white, with optional borders and custom imprinting available. We offer these photo folders in vertical and horizontal formats for six different print sizes, including 4 x 5, 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 6 x 6, 8 x 10, and 8.5 x 11. They’re perfect for high school & college graduations, and for portrait photographers looking for a professional way to present prints to clients.

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Need ideas on what to write in your graduation announcements and invitations? Check out our post on Graduation Announcement Wording. For help designing the perfection graduation announcements, call the Studio Style team at 1-800-346-3063.  Have your own ideas for custom graduation announcements? Share them with us in the comments below.

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Step It Up Events ® Revolutionizes the Photo Booth & Brings Life to Event Photography

We’re proud to announce Step It Up Events® as this month’s Studio Style Customer Spotlight! Step It Up Events® is a full service event branding company specializing in open photo booths, video photo booths & event photography for corporate and party engagement and entertainment. When you hire Step It Up Events®, you’ll get the benefit of a diverse and experienced team, including a top-rated photographer, creative artist, digital marketing strategist, social media guru, event planner, technology leader, and a customer service specialist. They’ll roll out the red carpet for you and your guests, with elegant custom photo station solutions plus an open, inviting and attractive presence that is branded to your event.

The Step It Up Events® team recognizes there is so much more to your event experience than just the pictures, and currently serves East coast customers in New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Howard Schram, Founder of Step It Up Events®, to learn more about what it takes to create a magnificent personalized event experience.

Step it Up EventsWhat sets you apart from your competition?

Step It Up Events® is NOT your everyday photo booth company. We are not a rental, we are a service.  I founded Step it Up Events® with one idea, “Every celebration is 100% personalized for each and every event!” Having 20 professional award winning years in digital/social/mobile technology & marketing and seeing the industry gaps, I took it upon myself to create something different and build the bridge. The traditional photo booth (that creepy black box in the corner) is not attractive, and film strip pictures are not conducive to creating true memories. On top of that, there is no sharing integrated with the pictures from a traditional photo booth. Most companies use an iPad with multiple apps for photo sharing, which creates a broken experience.

So, I developed a photo booth experience that allows your guests to instantly engage with their photos. They can share them immediately via email, MMS text message, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & get 4X6 prints in 5.9 seconds. We are instant memory makers.

When did you know that this was something you could make a living doing?

Initially,  didn’t know if it was going to take off or work at all. People usually think “Photo Booth” and they’d have a prefabricated thought in their mind. I created our brand, our software, bought $10k in quality equipment and then we finally had our first gig. It was pure chaos & it was a huge hit! We were a DJ killer. Now, we’ve been in business for over 3 years, and are seeing huge growth.

I love to quote the movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” I knew that I was on to something, and after crafting a voice and attempting to build my brand, I landed Verizon Wireless within 6 months of business. That was when I saw the tides start to turn.

Where do you want to take your business?Step it Up Events Wedding Photo Booth

We are planning to double the business again in 2016 as we closed out the 2015 year with 77 successful events. We shared over 150,000 pictures though digital and social media, and printed over 56,000 4X6 pictures. We were awarded The Knot Best of Weddings for 2016, we have 2 ® registered trademarks and 2 waiting approval with the US Government. We launched a FREE app in iTunes for the iPhone, iPad & iTouch called THINK Photo Booth Fun. We are the only world-wide photo booth company that offers a completely free photo sharing app designed for pure fun and enjoyment. Read more about our THINK Photo Booth Fun app launch here.

The next BIG THING is franchising Step It Up Events®! We have begun the process, so be on the lookout!

Which Studio Style products are you currently using to for your event photos? 

We use an assortment of 4X6 & 8X10 frames and photo folders. We love the excellent quality, and the amazing pricing.  Using the photo folders and photos frames from Studio Style has helped our business by allowing us to offer upgrades that other vendors do not feature in their packages.  It has made us look extremely polished. Plus, the customer service team is second to none! Kevin helps me brainstorm ideas on how to incorporate and market different Studio Style products into my event services all of the time.

Step it Up Events Photo BoothWhat are some of your favorite things about working in the events and photography industry?

I personally love working with my clients and making them feel special. Planning for a special event can be very stressful. When my clients send me testimonials like:

“BEST VENDOR EVER!”, “If we were to describe the Step It Up Events® experience with one phrase, it would be “Game Changer,” and “Your services are top notch, from the planning to the big event! Planning a wedding and working with vendors can be stressful, but you made everything stress free and fun.” — it makes me feel validated, and makes me feel good when I go to sleep at night.

What’s your best advice for success in the events industry?

Be careful. There are a lot of dishonest people in the industry who just want to capitalize on your success, or spin off your ideas and dip their hands into your pocket. Stay right sized, do the right thing today for you, and everything will be OK.

What kind of hobbies keep you busy in your off hours?

I love to spend time with my wife, family & friends, ride my sport bike, mountain bike, kayak, play and hike with my rescue pit bull, and eat good food!

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Connect with Step It Up Events® on the Web:

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