John Kasko is a web developer, photographer and app developer who is the founder of Myproofs.co. Drawing upon his 30 years of cross-discipline experience he has developed the My Proofs app, which is available in the mobile applications section of the Zenfolio website. In this post he shares his thoughts on what drove him to create the app, how it can be helpful to you, and his three keys to running a photography business.
My Proofs: The Perfect Companion App to your Zenfolio Account
Telling the story of My Proofs seems like an easy task. But when I sit down to write my thoughts I am overwhelmed by a 30-year, full-time career in photography with endless warmhearted memories and exciting new ideas.
Since getting started in this business in the film days, I have held steadfast to three vital concepts throughout decades of vast industry changes. First and foremost, and one that will serve many well, is shoot to print. This is a straightforward concept that will improve your photography and save you many hours at your computer. Back when shooting with film we had 12 or 24 exposures to a roll and every shot counted. Although some may think the machine gun concept works, it also costs precious time and the expense of equipment replacement. So, shoot it as you want to print it.
The second concept, outstanding customer service, may be obvious. But shooting is inconsequential if your customer service is not exceptional. No matter how great your images are if your customers are not satisfied throughout the process they won’t buy your prints. And if no one buys them, why did you and your customer bother? Care for your customers; make every moment count—not just your shooting.
Third, image is everything. The presentation of your finished image is as important as the capture itself. People are overwhelmed with images everyday. Our own websites promote other websites with a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, a blog, Pinterest, Google+, etc. Where are the customers to turn to? They’re overwhelmed even before they see their own images. Can they find their images?
That said, we created My Proofs apps for just this reason: To provide an easy way for your customers to view their images with full-screen, distraction-free proofing. And it’s clean and beautiful! When we completed our first My Proofs beta, I remember just looking at my own work for hours. It was like seeing the images for the first time. I enjoyed the ease of the app and the viewing quality of the images so much that I had a hard time putting it down. And to be honest, I still do.
In addition to the core of My Proofs, we’ve since added a few really nice, powerful features for the photographer. Our apps now have a photographer login section that stores customer names, client access codes, and passwords for the photographer to enter right at their sessions or events. By simply adding events and customers, you can email your clients right from the app to give them a link to their images and to your apps. You can also post a new gallery link right to Facebook. And your customers can share their images with family and friends with their own Share button.
I first used My Proofs at a wedding, and then again a week later at a high school prom. Prior to the wedding I had their engagement photos in the wedding gallery and I had set up a “Prom Photos Coming Soon” message in the prom gallery. During those events I told a few guests to download the app and have a look. Seeing their excitement and having them use our app instantly was fantastic! I had over 140 downloads for these two events and increased online sales by more than 19%.
Here are two other helpful tips to improve your business: 1. You can enter the gallery access code for everything you shoot in your My Proofs app so you’ll always have it, in case you or your customers forget it. 2. You can add a QR code to the back of your business card that takes your customers directly to your My Proofs apps so your customers can download the app to their mobile device right at the event. That way they’ll have a My Proofs icon as a reminder for them to view their proofs. Furthermore, you can place these business cards on the tables at your next event and watch how quickly your customer base will grow for every single event. Your app icon can be a favorite on their Android, iPhone, or iPad. That way you don’t have to worry about your cards being lost or your website being forgotten, it is now on their personal device—and more referrals are just a click away.
Our goal with My Proofs is to provide every photographer with a cost-effective way to have their own set of mobile apps for proofing and promotion. Starting from that premise there was never even a question of the platform: It had to be Zenfolio. Based upon my 30 years of experience, and in my professional opinion, I have found that no other site for photographers offers the power that Zenfolio provides, at any price. And trust me when I tell you, I have tried them all. Now, when I upload my images to Zenfolio, my customers and I can also view them on Android, iPhone, and iPad apps conveniently, at any place or time, with My Proofs.
It takes just a few minutes to set up your own My Proofs apps and you can completely change the look anytime you want. Once your customers enter your name the app becomes your very own from that point on. My Proofs is the perfect companion app to your Zenfolio account!