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Hi All,

I'm just in the process of sorting a few things out with regards to my photography work (website, etc), and part of that process involves printing up some new business cards.

I've just had a bunch of samples printed up using Moo. They allow full-colour double-sided business cards with different images on every card (up to 50 different images per order). This seems perfect for photographers because it allows you to carry a mini portfolio around with you and then give the potential client a sample of your work.

So my first order arrived today. This was a small trial run. I hope to refine it a bit before doing another order.

[Image: 991743819_DvGtn-L.jpg]
(photo taken using C-mount CCTV 25mm f/1.4 lens on Panasonic GF1 body)

Overall the quality seems good. The card itself feels great to the touch and the printing is quite good - not perfect but certainly good enough for this kind of thing. The only disappointment I have is that many of the images printed out quite dark. Considerably darker than my calibrated screens showed. They are mostly still acceptable, and when you upload images there is an "auto-enhance" checkbox which brightens things up. I only checked this setting on a few of the images, but will certainly check it on all images in the future as I think this cancels-out the darkening.

As far as the design goes, I'd love to hear feedback and opinions from other people. As I said, this was just a trial run.
The image on the front of all of them is one of me as a child (age approx 7) wearing a wetsuit, mask and snorkel. I chose this image to inject a bit of humour, hopefully make the card a bit different and memorable, and also to highlight the value of photographs as an historical record of our lives.
For the back where the image fills the whole card, I will choose photos that target the type of clients I hope to attract. When I go to shoot a wedding I will carry mostly cards that have wedding photos on the back, when I shoot sports I will carry cards with a sports theme, etc..

So, I'm sure other people here have gone through this process... feel free to show off your designs here and give feedback on mine.
In the past few months I have been working as a portrait photographer. My clients kindly have recommended me with others and I have had more work to do. The thing is that I wanted to walk on the safe side of the road and I went yesterday with my tax consultant and I am registered as an art photographer since yesterday... Smile

I am in the process of upgrading my web page at the moment. I did my card already.... sadly the comment I got was not good... Sad Juergen thinks that my card doesn't say much about photography. He thinks that my card could be well taken as the card of an undertaker or any other service but not photography. To me, my card made sense! now I am not sure ...

I like your idea about having samples of my pictures, but I am unsure what the clients will think if in my case they see in my card a picture of a flower or a building or a still life and I am related with portrait photographer. An idea could be then to have my own portrait in my cards, but I don't feel like someone would like to have my picture in its wallet... Wink The idea I got yesterday at night was to have a stand with an umbrella and a frame hanging sort of... still looking for the graphic, to give it a try. Also I would like to have something a bit graphic I could use as logo in my invoices and personal stationery.

I like the idea of your pictures in your cards, on one hand you have the chance to give to your client the card you see fit for each client, on the other hand how much your client will recognize you as a photographer with one of your pictures. (I don't know if I express my idea well here.)

Here is my card so far... Wink

[Image: card.jpg]

Thanks a lot for sharing your idea of cards and open a post to talk about this topic.... Smile
Very nice work both of you. Kombi - sometimes the photos turn out differently in print because they are converted to CMYK (printing presses uses that color spectrum) - but you probably already knew that.

My card (literally - I had them printed by a playing card manufacturer). When somebody asks me for a card, I pull them out of a deck. The back has one of my images printed on it.

[Image: 91_Rob%20Joker.jpg]
Nice job all.
Kombi...just wondering: you know that "enhance" thing you mention? You might want to check, as this could be the problem. I've found with some devs that their way of "enhancing" is actually to mess about to their own idea of colour, density, etc; darkening(IMO) is a sure sign that they're re-jigging an image to their own default settings. Thus, I'd really recommend NOT getting them to enhance, but have full control yourself. I had exactly the same issue with my devs, usually naffing about with the density and over-darkening.
Irma: your card is certainly professional...but perhaps the absence of a colourful image renders it a little "remote" or even emotionless? Sad sorry!
I feel Juergen may be correc there.
May I suggest you do indeed have an image on your card? Now, it needn't be a solo portrait...and I can understand your reason why, that it appears as if you are selling that person!...BUT.. you could, in Photoshop, do a combination of images, importing each one at different sizes and saving the whole composite as a new image. IF you had within this collage a mini-portrait, and another different couple of images, this would "sell" you as a portrait photographer who could also turn her lens to other ideas too. You could have, say, 2 portraits a little larger then the other image...and they don't need to be large...they CAN be mere "suggestions".
As an example, I've included my own "card": see how I've included blends of different shots...almost suggesting that I do portraits but not overstating it(I don't consider portraits my speciality, but still like to say I can do them!) Yours could perhaps have 2 blended portraits in different styles and something more abstract too.
Hey Ade, sorry for hijacking..just hoping to err on the side of helpfulness! Big Grin

[Image: DoverowPhotocard5x3_mk2WEBSIZE.jpg]
Irma ...It says Photographer on the card, but it looks to me very formal although professional.
It depends on your customers. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Shaun's is too busy for me. He should have one for music and one for photography.

Sorry Rob ...Gamblers anonymous. Big Grin

Adrian's sits best for me, even if it looks like a hobbit. (Lord of the lens). Big Grin
Actually, on reflection, I think I (reluctantly) agree with all of NT's last comment here(even about mine): "photographer" would allow any form of engaging image to be used in the card, whereas "portrait" would perhaps have to be cleverly suggestive(an eye with hair, for example) so as to avoid it looking like you're advertising a certain person!
I must add though, that I deliberately don't hand a card out that is in "credit card size": for me, it suggests it'd not get looked at. My design is on 5x3.5 inch photo paper, costing typically £5 GBP for 50 from a bog-standard developer like Photobox. People I've given them to are pleased that it's not just another business card, and appreciate the specialness of a glossy photo instead. (And in my defence, helps my card look less busy...ish) Smile
Dear Adrian, your business card, so nice... I loved it so much... Smile

I don't know what to say about business cards,.... but yours hit me!

Have a nice weekend,
with my love,
I am getting sloppy! I meant Adrian and not Matthew on the last comment re cards. (Hangs head in shame.)
I have edited it now. Smile
Toad, I love your card... To me it says a lot from you, it is very original... Smile

NT so far my clients are families, kids and people with pets, dogs or horses.... a lot of feelings and emotions involved every time I take my pictures (I am thinking from both sides) ... Smile

Zig, you also have a beautiful card and I can see your love for landscapes. You did a great job with blending images. It looks really nice. I also notice the size and format of your card, Zig. I am happy that you mentioned it.

I am following your advice here, and I will make my card as a collage with my pictures. The best thing of all is that I have those pre-cut cards so I can make at home as many test as I want before I sent to print a hundred. Smile

In Zig's and Toad's cards I see a lot of their personality, I think that is also the point.

Thanks all for sharing your thoughts and your works in this post. It has been so useful... Smile
Adrian, Penny uses Moo cards for her jewellery business, and I've seen some photographers with them as well. They're invariably impressive, and being able to tailor the card that you're giving out to your audience is nearly priceless. It's a good thing, too, because these cards tend to be pricy - Penny will still have more conventional cards to give out to people at craft shows, reserving the Moo cards for more solid leads. But I'll carry a few of her Moo cards with me as well, since they're my photos and can serve to promote what I do at the same time. Wink Yours look very well done, and I like the humour of them, even if I would assume that the photo is by you, rather than of you.

Irma, I like everything except for the graphic. It doesn't remind me of your photography - while you make excellent use of graphic design in your still life and product compositions, this doesn't remind me of them. I'm not a huge fan of having photos on cards, with the Moo exception, and having your own headshot on a business card is a level of tacky that only real estate agents should descend to. I like the idea of an umbrella/light graphic logo, since that does say 'photographer' to the right audience, and can encompass the different genres that you like to work in.

Rob, interesting approach - you're the only person so far who hasn't included their job description.

Shaun, here we'd call that a 'postcard', and you're allowed to have more on it. Big Grin I do find it interesting that you've overlaid text on one inset image, but carefully avoided the other, while its higher saturation makes it jump forward in the image space.
Here's my card, which gave the guy who was printing it fits. I might eventually print one that has a jewellery image on it, but I've never been a huge fan of cards with photos, and my work has been changing quickly enough that I'll come to dislike the image while I still have hundreds of cards left. Sad

[Image: 993010433_uFtNd-L.jpg]

(The sharp-eyed will notice that Irma and I use the same typeface.)
Thanks for the feedback folks and it's good to see your own designs.
The variety is quite interesting and I can see a few different strategies at work there.

Irma, I think Juergen is being very harsh saying your card could be for an undertaker! I can see where he's coming from though, and if you don't want to include a photo on the card itself then I might suggest a logo that isn't quite so heavy and masculine as the three intersecting rectangles you have. Perhaps something whispy, curvy and/or organic might provide a bit more of an emotive and feminine feel, and a slightly different colour choice might help too. When I think of your work I think of your excellent delicate flower photos, and I think a logo inspired by these could be brilliant. Also the font you used for your website and email address is very small. Other than that I like the elegant professional layout you have.

Toad, I can see the playing card idea being really appropriate for you and as Irma says, it reflects your personality. Like Matthew I was also surprised that you don't mention what you do anywhere on the card.

Zig, I agree with NT in that I think yours has far too much going on. It's almost more of a brochure than a business card (oops, I just read Matthew describe it as a postcard). Sorry to be so critical, but the text layout in particular - it doesn't lead my eye nicely through the text, it just confuses my brain about the order I should be reading things.
I really believe that less is more and the best business cards I have seen generally have very simple, singular ideas behind them. If you are producing something closer to a brochure then obviously you have a different set of rules, but even then I think it could benefit from a different text layout.
Having said that, I see that sepia image within your card of the single tree with the clouds behind it and think that image alone would be pefect for a business card for you with just your name and contact details on it. I think it's representative of your work and your personality and needs nothing else. The more elements you add, the more it dilutes the impact.
As NT also suggested, if you need a card for your music then make up a different card.

Matthew, yours seems perfect for you. Of course you don't need a photo at all because the type and the layout instantly associate the card to your photography. I love the design. I just wonder if the plain colours will give it enough impact? Showing it on a blue background like you have looks great, but how does it look on a white background? Does it get lost when sitting amongst a bunch of other cards?

I'm going back to my own design to refine my text and font a little more before getting some more printed. And I also intend to make up some different cards for my Software Development work (also a different website).

Just for reference while we're talking about marketing, here's a link that might be worth a bit of a glance.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

In particular there are a few laws described there that I think give great advice to consider when designing a business card.
* Law #4: The Law of Perception explains that success is based on the perceptions rather than realities. This explains why there are numerous bad photographers out there making a healthy living, yet many great photographers who can't afford a cup of coffee.
* Law #5: The Law of Focus challenges you to boil your marketing message down to just one idea in order to make it effective.
* Law #13: The Law of Sacrifice basically says that in order to successfully focus in one area, you need to sacrifice other areas. You need to learn to learn which opportunities you should pursue, not just to pursue everything.

Oh, and here are some excellent designs for inspiration...
Excellent reply Ade. I'm very touched that you both allowed a degree of thread-hijack and also have given me some spot-on advice. Ta mate Smile
Matthew: yours is simply a stunning touch of genius. Bravo dude.
matthew Wrote:Rob, interesting approach - you're the only person so far who hasn't included their job description. .
Yeah - I guess that is because I am not trying to get commercial photography work with these cards. I only give them out at my art shows...I'm just trying to be a *personality* with these cards and not a business. People have been reacting well to them.
Sorry to ramble on some more about business cards.... but...
As well as making up new cards for my photography work, I need to make up some new cards for my "real" job as a Software Engineer.

I will be using Moo for these cards too, so I can have a few different designs (although there is no point having loads of different ones).
Here are three designs I've come up with so far for the "Image Side". Because I build Software Applications, I thought I'd take the "build" metaphor and run with it.

[Image: 994398895_XLvB5-S.jpg] [Image: 994399284_yLzbM-S.jpg] [Image: 994399799_aQCa4-S.jpg]

For the "Details Side" of the card, Moo only allows for a single design for every card. I'm really not sure about this. Part of me wants to use something very plain, but another part of me wants to use something like either of the following computer-themed designs:

[Image: 994400290_oUiSB-S.jpg] [Image: 994398386_Es5pi-S.jpg]

What do you guys think? Remembering that these are for quite a different audience and offering a different service.. Do you think these look any good? Do they seem professional? Are they trying a bit too hard? Will they be effective?
Thanks for looking. Smile
I like the third image the best, but that might be the photographer in me speaking. I see it as whimsical and funny, taking a few moments 'to get', and rewards the viewer for being smart. But I also wonder how well it will reproduce on the matte card that tends to come out dark and unsubtle.

For the details side, I have two questions - would someone you're handing the card to have seen that approach done before (i.e., would it seem 'cute' or 'trite', either of which are the kiss of death) and would the person who's making hiring decisions appreciate it?

The consistent branding, with the red square and logotype, works very well.
Excellent work as always, Kombi.

My choices: The Silhouette front and the back with the dark background. I actually like the light background better - but the dark one goes better with the silhouette front.

[edit] Yes - they look professional and not over the top at all. You are selling your images and your graphic design abilities - I think it looks great.

The photo group that I hang with in Vancouver uses postcards just like that as advertisements for shows. They can be emailed, snail mailed, given away, left in shops... and they work wonderfully. We do a different one for each show, Like some of the others, I feel that your card attempts to convey a LOT of information in a small space. If I were you, I would invest in one card for your music and one for your photography - although that strategy might tend to diminish your reputation as a Renaissance Man somewhat.
Matthew: I like the edgy presentation of your card with the severed letters (still totally readable of course). Great use of color and presents the important information clearly. Nice.
Irma: I like how this card feels and flows. Nice minimalist feel that reflects your recent work. I too, feel that an image would be better than a graphic. Maybe one of your white on whites?
Kombi, referring to the pictures in your post #15:

I think all your cards deliver nicely the idea of "build" but I see them a bit in the area of "construction". I was imagine to give them with a hint of the field you work: software. #2 is a picture I specially like because it has the clear idea of "build" and also the human touch. I was just imagine fading some lines in a programing language in one corner? In some way I am missing the software part... For the details of your card I like a lot the second one.

Thanks a lot for your comment on my card and the links you gave about marketing. I did some other tries I will post. I want also to say that you don't be sorry for posting more cards and ideas. This has been a very useful post for all sharing their work and ideas, and I am sure for other shuttertalkers that are only in read mode... Wink

Matthew, Thanks for your comment and advice... I found my umbrella and I did a bit of an arrangement in my card to deliver the idea completely. You are right about the font size in my in my mail and web site address. I made it a bit bigger.

Toad, Thanks for your comment, I tried with my white on white stills and it didn't look so well. The idea of wall painter came into my mind when I did my try ... Smile

I read some links that Kombi shared about marketing and the last one, that talks about the law of sacrifice was the one that hit me the most... If someone asked me what kind of pictures I take, I would answer: do you want to short list or the long list?... Wink So far portrait photography has been the one that has given me more profit, and hopefully I can start selling my stills by showing them in deco or flower shops. So I focused on those two areas and I did these cards.

I found the umbrella alone very simple and easily misinterpreted, adding the chair gave a bit of sense but I had to add a third ... something to balance and make it work, so I added the frame in the wall... The frame might look simplistic but I think it rounds the idea in a graphic way.

[Image: card_try4.jpg]

I see in this still life very much of my pictures.
[Image: card_try3.jpg]

I found this picture I took long time ago.
[Image: card_try2.jpg]

I did try to make a collage with more than one picture but I didn't get anything nice. More than one picture in the size I am working my cards look really small.

Comments and advice are very welcome... Smile
Irma! Those last 2 versions of your card are 100000000 x better. #3 in particular is just so perfect! I love it! It contains loads of emotion and sets a mood which you carry through a lot of your photos - it reall speaks about your work. I wouldn't worry about using it to market yourself for Portraits - it demonstrates the respect you show for your subjects and I don't think limits you in any way.

I think the font might be a little too small to read for your website and email address, but apart from thet I wouldn't change a thing about #3.

Bravo - 3 exceptional cards. I feel the arrangement of the umbrella, frame and chair perfect for the first card - a great improvement on the previous graphic. I really like #2 as well - it hangs together perfectly,and has a lovely *fine arts* feel to it.

#3 is just perfect and my pick of the 3 for a business card. It says photography, is technically superb, and has that touch of whimsy and magic to it that would want to make me hire you as a photographer. Having said that, I don't think you could go wrong with any of these 3.

Business cards are not forever, and the old rules of business don't completely apply to the arts. Many of the online printers provide exceptional prices on multiple image sets - allowing you to mix and match images on business cards. You may want to order a small run of all 3 of them, and see which ones resonate with the public. I can see you presenting #1 to customers interested in portraits, #2 to galleries, and #3 to yur commercial clients. Food for thought.
Thanks Kombi, Toad for your comments and support to get my cards right... Smile
It has all been said. All three speak photography. It does not feel sombre any more.

The first is slightly more formal but I like it. Maybe different age groups would prefer a different style.

So mix and match. Smile
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