Recently, I had a great opportunity to sit down with a well known and highly respected photographer, Kirk Voclain who is also the owner of the Pro4uM. I wanted to talk about online proofing and SeeYourPhotos.net – todays internet abilities and useshere is what we discussed:
Mark-You recently were invited to try out SeeYourPhotos.net, a Gold Sponser with the Pro4Um, by the owners, John Phoenix and Lisa Catera. They have been working on this site for a long time and asked me to get your impression on their online proofing site. Kirk, I want to thank you for taking the time today to talk about SeeYourPhotos.net.
First of all, how long have you been in photography?
Kirk- Long I think over thirty years. I did my first wedding when I was 15 and I’ve been photographing I guess you could say professionally ever since then. I got my first camera when I was eight years old; just forever you know.
Mark- How long have you had your own studio?
Kirk- Let’s see, I’ve been married for 22 years so, since then.
Mark- Good, can you tell us about how many senior sittings you do a year?
Kirk- I usually do about 150 seniors a year, I do very limited weddings, I do some families, I do some babies, you know that kind of stuff, but I mostly make money from high school senior portraits. The weddings and the babies and all the other good stuff is fine- it makes money I’m not against that stuff. It’s just that I kind of run everything so to speak based on senior portraits and the thing is I’m getting close to a 2000 dollar average for senior portraits these days. If the dynamic of that should ever shift I would shift with it. But, for right now I’m going to ride that wave.
Mark- So for your weddings, what do you do for those events?
Kirk- With weddings, I have found that the bride of course, they just want to see them online. So, my thing with weddings are I actually design everything the book, the parent book, I design everything and it is put together before the bride sees picture one. At which point, they want to know if they can put it online and I’m like “sure we can put it online. I’d love to!” and we put it online and we give them a thumbnail book, one of those H & H thumbnail books. We tell them if you need to place an order at a later date the pictures are online, you can still place an order online at the discounted price.
Mark- That sounds great! I do a lot of corporate work and shoot for a lot of major corporations around the United States where we do events. What’s nice about that is the people who come to those events can go back home to any state in the country where they live. Then they go online and order extra photos for themselves. For us, for the way that I use it, it’s been a blessing.
Kirk- Yes, I can see where photographers in a large city need this kind of online service.
The other day, we drove through Dallas, for example, and I can see where a photographer in Dallas, man if you don’t have some sort of online ordering in my humble opinion you’re in trouble. Because to get from one end of that town to another end of that town is like a whole other country, you know, compared to Louisiana. My mom and dad all the time complain because I don’t go visit them enough. Well, dog gone, you guys live 20 minutes away. Now, compare that to some town like Dallas and that’s around the block. So, I can appreciate how that can also be the situation with me. I’m right in the middle of Houma, LA, so I’m right in the middle of everything. So, for someone to come to me to physically walk in is not that difficult. Parking that’s another thing, — I’ve got my own little parking area. People drive in and park in and it’s just wonderful.
Mark- Now when you first saw SeeYourPhotos.net what was your impression of the site, since you have actually looked at some other sites?
Kirk- Well I thought everything worked pretty fast number one, and that’s always a big deal with me. When it comes to anything online it’s like to me it’s gotta work, it’s gotta happen quick. I just don’t know too many people that like looking at their computer waiting on stuff to load!. Everything loaded fast. Everything was right there in front of me and it was easy to navigate. Once I understood the thinking of the whole thing, it seemed to navigate very easily and operated very quickly. Which for me was a big positive. One thing I have found in the other proofing sites was they have so many problems–I haven’t seen that with SeeYourPhotos.net.
Mark- Now, are you currently using SeeYourPhotos.net and what is your relationship with them?
Kirk – I do use them and I love the service. I’m not a big heavy hitter yet you know, I don’t use it with every customer. I intend on using it and we are going to use it more because we just kind of got on-board there at the end of this past senior year. So I think if you check my name out I think there is like two or three listed because that was at the end of the season.
But, next year it will be a whole different deal. Everything we do will get uploaded that way. SeeYourPhotos.net–I love it, I love everything about it. I love the way the interface works, it’s fast and simple to use…with internet stuff, if it is not easy – I won’t use it. Plus, my events page on my website looks the way I want it to look–which I like by the way. They do like to hear from everyone about how to improve the site, they may or may not do it, but at least they want to hear it from us and that is very important.Mark- Well, as you may have seen,
SeeYourPhotos.net is an established business started by two photographers who own the site – then, added enhancements and upgrades by the comments and needs of all the members. Even though, they are not the biggest in the industry, they work very hard to
make sure the site is user friendly on all levels, not just for the photographer, but for their clients viewing the events as well. So, how do you think they fit into the industry so far?
Kirk- I think that its just one of those things that there are so many proofing companies out there that they need to keep doing what they are doing to keep being, you know, keep providing a great service at a great price, and continue to be customer service oriented and it will happen.
Mark- You’re right Kirk, they really are customer service oriented. I’ve talked to many photographers at trade shows and so many people have been burned by other online proofing companies especially, by some of the early onset of proofing sites that were out there almost ten years ago. I think SeeYourPhotos.net is a great site.
Kirk- I know exactly what you’re saying.
Mark- I really appreciate your time Kirk, and what we talked about today. Like I said before, my first impression of you was you have a great passion for what you do in photography. I look forward to getting to see you at the WPPI show next year–and thanks again for your time today!
My overall observation with talking to Kirk Voclain today is that online proofing has it’s place in our industry, and although it may be different for every photographer, Kirk really likes what he has seen so far using SeeYourPhotos.net—or hear him say it—”I Love everything about it”.
Kirk Voclain is the owner and webmaster of a great professional photographer’s forum The Pro4uM. He has spent many years making great photography information available thru the forum for thousands of photographers.
Please take an opportunity to check out Kirk’s website for professional photographers,
The Pro4uM @ http://www.pro4um.com
Kirk’s Photography studio is located in Houma, near New Orleans, Louisiana.
Visit Kirk’s photography website to view some of the most amazing Portrait and Senior photography at http://www.kvphoto.com! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
You can go online to see for yourself how SeeYourPhotos.net can improve your photography business @ www.seeyourphotos.net. You can also give them a call to ask any questions you may have about their online proofing service at 1-866-523-6463.