Featured Photographer: Lena Saugen

Lena Saugen

Today, we interview Norway-based photographer Lena Saugen of www.lenasaugenphotography.com about her photography business.

Lena is an experienced pro photographer with the goal of capturing the magical interaction between animals and people. In addition to weddings and rider portraits, she also does illustrations for EQUILIFE.

“…everyone said how professional the site looked and how easy it was to navigate. They liked the simplicity of the design, which showcased my work perfectly.”

Where do you live / work ?

I live just outside Oslo in Norway.
I work as a freelance photographer beside my job as an advisor for the Drama-television department at NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Company).

by Lena Saugen

How would you describe your photographic style? How does your personal work differ from your paid jobs?

It’s not easy to describe my own personal style, but perhaps I could say it’s a mix of documentary, romantic and poetic? I work mostly with the paid assignments nowadays where I try to bring out a special feeling or specific atmosphere given from the place I’m in whether it’s a wedding, equine photography or editorial. When I work with my personal projects they are different.

Can you describe your workflow?

I started to use Lightroom a year ago, as a supplement to Photoshop. I really love LR, and always import my projects in LR before importing to Photoshop. It is a great tool for my workflow. Use the library module as an effective way to categorize and name the different pictures, so it is easy to make quick selections. I also use the developing module for basic adjustments, and import to PS for more complicated actions/retouch etc. I use Jottacloud for backup and in addition I have external hard disks for extra storage and safety.

by Lena Saugen

How would you define your photo business? Who are your clients?

Since I have an almost full – time job, my photo business is still not too big. But hopefully I will find more time in the future to spend on my photo business. My main assignments are weddings, portraits, editorials and quite lot of Equine photography for both magazines and private clients.

by Lena Saugen

When and how did you start photography as a business?

I have a long & lasting passionate relationship with photography. Changed from analog to digital camera in 2008, and started to do small personal projects just to get started. I published some of these images on FB – and that really made an impact
– on my small slow growing business. People started asking me to photograph their horses or take portraits, and word was spread by mouth. In 2011 I had my first big wedding assignment, and my business has just been increasing and my work has been shown in several magazines, like Kentaur in Sweden, Kavallo in Switzerland, Madame magazine in Dubai, Equilife in Norway. Also been featured in Norways biggest weekend newspaper magazine.

by Lena Saugen

How do you market yourself and your work?

Social media like FB has really been a door opener for me. I made my own website approx. a year ago – on WordPress. I would describe myself as a not very computer skilled person, so after a while, I found WP a bit frustrating and a bit difficult to manage. I discovered PhotoDeck via some fellow photographers, and I really like the concept. But I can’t really underestimate the importance of people talking about your work and spreading the word.

by Lena Saugen

Best business decision? Why?

Perhaps it is having a paid job besides the photo business which makes it more comfortable to pick the projects you want and keeping up the passion and dedication for photography.

Worst mistake? What would you have done differently?

I have made several mistakes, and will for sure do in the future as well, but then I learn, and make an effort to continuously improve myself. I’ve done stupid mistakes like not bringing enough memory cards, no tripod, not right lens etc. and the result is that I now bring far too much gear !

How do you see the future?

I hope to continue doing what I love the most and finding the right balance between my own projects and paid jobs. Work hard and hopefully continuing to develop myself.

by Lena Saugen

Any advice for aspiring photographers?

Work hard and follow your heart. Practice and practice! It might be easier if you start to photograph what you have a real passion for.

What is your current biggest challenge and how are you addressing it?

Find the right balance between doing personal work and paid assignments.

What do you use PhotoDeck for?

I love my new PhotoDeck website. I really like the simple, clean design, developed for photographers.Like that there are many possibilities for customization. It took me a few days to set up my web site, and for a non-technical person like me I managed to do it all by myself.
That said, I have several adjustments I want to make. But then again, I have the basics ready on my site, and love the easiness of uploading new images, making private galleries for customers etc. Works perfect for weddings, for example, with up to 300 – 400 images I want to display.

Have your clients commented on your website? What did they like?

Basically the same as I think – clean, nice design, looks very professional.

by Lena Saugen

What main problem has PhotoDeck solved for you?

First of all, you are excellent when it comes to personal service! Very quick to respond by mail and come up with suggestions on solutions. Since I am quite new on PhotoDeck – I am not an elaborate user yet, I am sure I will make use of your expertise in the future.

What improvement would you most love to see?

Too early to say, it works perfect for me so far.

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TIP // Selling prints with options

Selling prints with multiple options just got easier. We’ve greatly improved the pricing facility to make simplify the process and make it less intimidating. If you’ve been a member for a while, the “Before” view in the screenshot below may look familiar.

Prints with options

Once you’re created the “Prints with options” pricing profile, the first step is to add the different print sizes you want to offer to your clients. You can delete rows and columns by checking the “del” checkbox, then saving the page. Use the green plus buttons to add variants and options. Note that by default, a canvas prints product is included in the pricing profile.


Each additional option will be added to the base cost of the first column. Add as many options as you like, and see your pricing profile in action using the Check Prices button at the bottom of the page.

If you want to attach a pricing tier to each print size, remember to first attach a shipping profile via the Taxes and Shipping tab.

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TIP // Embedding images from your website

If you’re a member of a forum or a blogger, embedding images will be a familiar concept to you. Embedding images you have on your PhotoDeck website is quite easy, thanks to a built-in function that automatically generates the embed code for you. All you need to do is paste it!

The first step is go select your desired image in the My Images & Videos panel. Once you’ve done that, scroll down in the right-hand-side panel and click on Embed. A window pops up with the generated embed code.

Embed Window

From here, you can select different image sizes, whether you want to embed a thumbnail or a larger image. The embed code is dynamically updated to reflect the changes. You can also choose to link the image directly back to the image on your website, a good way to get visitors to your site.

Embedding in a forum

A great place to embed your images is in your newsletter, using the built-in mailing facility.

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TIP // Slideshows

Slideshows: Portfolio vs Custom Header Slideshows

Slideshows are great for showing off your images and adding some life to your website. PhotoDeck offers two different kinds of slideshows: Portfolio gallery slideshows, and custom header slideshows. There are some major differences between these two – let’s take a look at them.

Portfolio Slideshows

If you want to add a stunning, fast and navigable slideshow to your front page, the Portfolio Style slide show is the way to go. Make sure that your gallery uses the default ‘Portfolio’ display style. (You can also use a different gallery style, but it must be set to open galleries to their first image, with both auto-scaling and slideshow enabled.) The main benefit of this slideshow type is that it automatically scales to fit the screen, and works great on mobile devices like tablets.

Portfolio Slideshow

Custom Header Slideshows

If you want to add a nice touch to one of your pages, it makes sense to use a custom header slideshow. This kind of slideshow doesn’t allow for navigation between images, though it is quite customizable as well. You can use this guide to create your slideshow. Note that it is NOT suitable to display a slideshow on your front page – stick to the portfolio style for this.

If you’re using a portfolio slideshow on your front page, remember to add a proper navigation to your galleries to your main menu to make it easy for your visitors to navigate.

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PhotoDeck integrates with One Vision Imaging


Kicking-off a series of integrations with major Pro photo labs, we are delighted to launch today our automated fulfillment solution with One Vision Imaging, a leader in the UK Pro lab market.

Often requested by our members, this integration makes it possible to offer and price a wide range of high-quality products in just a few clicks, and have them automatically fulfilled by One Vision Imaging.

PhotoDeck’s philosophy is to keep photographers firmly in the driver’s seat, and this integration builds upon that promise: it provides with full control over both the products offered and their prices, as well as a direct relationship with the lab.

And as previously, with ZERO commission.


Getting started is easy! We’ve put together a short video and more details on this page.

We are committed to serve professional image makers globally, and this is the first of several complementary integrations. More soon…

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TIP // Customizing and understanding thumbnails

Each gallery display style uses a unique mixture of settings to optimize the way your images are displayed in your galleries. One of the areas where this is the most apparent is in the image thumbnails. Did you know you can completely customize the way thumbnails are displayed in your galleries?

To change the Display Style used by a gallery, open that gallery under My Images & Videos, then click on the link displaying the current display style in use, located right below the gallery title. This pop-up panel will also let you customize your display styles. In the Media Thumbnails section, you can select from many different thumbnail styles. Below is a quick overview of each style.

Magic Mosaic Wall Tile

Magic Mosaic Wall Tile

This is the default thumbnail type used for the Portfolio display style. As the name implies, it will attempt to arrange your images in a mosaic pattern, cropping and scaling images to achieve a proper fit. This style is sleek and stylish, but not ideal when image order is important, as images may be shifted around to achieve a better fit.

Magic Vertical / Horizontal Wall Tile

Magic Vertical Wall Tile

If you don’t want your images to be cropped but still want to present them in a stylish way, this is a great thumbnail type to choose. The Vertical and Horizontal style will try to prioritize a certain orientation of the images. The example above is set to prioritize vertical images, while also arraying the order of the images vertically.

Within 175x175px (or other sizes)

Within 175x175px

Using this thumbnail type will display your images in an evenly-spaced grid, retaining a sense of order. One advantage is that images do not get cropped using this style, though there may be some odd gaps between images if their orientations differ greatly.This style is convenient for client proofing, since your client can see the orientation of images at one glance, with no cropping.

175x175px Square Crop (or other sizes)


The square crop will create a perfect grid of square thumbnails that look very orderly. If you have very tall or very wide images in a gallery, the square crop may not be ideal, as a lot of the image will go missing. Otherwise, it’s a great way to achieve a clean look.

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Featured Photographer: Sandra Jordan

Sandra Jordan

Today, we interview Sandra Jordan of www.sandrajordanphotography.co.uk about her fine art and travel photography business.

Sandra Jordan is an award-winning photographer who frequently travels the world to capture stunning works of art. She became a member of PhotoDeck in late 2013, using her site to sell both prints and licenses, as well as a portfolio.

“Apart from compliments on my work, everyone said how professional the site looked and how easy it was to navigate. They liked the simplicity of the design, which showcased my work perfectly.”

Sandra, where are you based?

Currently I live and work in London but as a Travel Photographer I am often off on trips around the World. Next week I am heading back up to Arctic Norway for a month to work on a personal project and to, hopefully, photograph the Northern Lights. After that I plan to go to Venice to do some long exposure photography. I think I chose a good genre of photography!

Certainly sounds like you’re never short on adventures! What is usually the deciding factor for your destinations? Is it mostly client-driven, or do you follow your gut?

I choose the destinations based on my own personal projects/desires which so far has worked out well. I am totally addicted to snowy scenes so am embarking on my 3rd trip to arctic Norway where I shall stay on the lofoten islands for a couple of weeks. Most of my trips seem to revolve around water of some type, be it the bosphorus in Istanbul, the port in Essaouira, Morocco or out of season coastal resorts in the UK.

Durdle Door by Sandra Jordan

How would you describe your photographic style? How does your personal work differ from your paid jobs?

Oh I always find this tricky as I am not sure I have a defined style yet, it is something I continue to work on. I would say though that the running theme through all my work is that of a minimalist, uncluttered, graphic style, be it architecture, seascapes, abstracts or even portraits. I have been lucky so far that clients who have been interested in my work like my style so my paid and personal work is not that different. I realise though that if I want to expand my business I will need to take some more classic images, for example I love bleak stormy skies in a landscape, but I can appreciate that clients like to show off locations in the best possible light, which may mean going back and shooting on a nice summer’s day.

Can you describe your workflow?

I try to capture most of what I want to show in camera as I don’t really like spending a lot of time in front of the computer. Once I have come back from a trip, where I have taken thousands of photos, I upload them onto the computer and then leave them sitting for a couple of weeks, that way when I go through them I don’t have the emotions that are linked to when I was actually taking the image. It allows me to be more critical of my work and delete anything that doesn’t make the grade! Post processing is minimal and I do this in Lightroom and, if I want to convert to Black and White, with Silver Efex Pro 2.

by Sandra Jordan

How would you define your photo business? Who are your clients?

It seems to be on the cusp of evolving at the moment. Up until now it has been mainly people who have bought my fine art images for their homes or offices or have used my work for front covers of magazines. More recently I have been getting involved with a company who works directly with interior designers and have been working on a couple of projects which have been very exciting.

When and how did you start photography as a business?

I started really getting back into photography in 2007 when I took a 3 month train trip from London to Turkey. It has been a slow start which I think is due to the fact that I wasn’t fully focussed on starting a business. I was lucky to get accepted into a couple of exhibitions and won a few awards so my work was getting out there, but slowly. I work also as a freelance production manager making TV commercials and that took up a lot of my time. I decided that 2014 was going to be the year that I took a step back from commercials and really concentrated on the photography side and so far it has been working really well!

Nuns at Sacre Coeur by Sandra Jordan

How do you market yourself and your work?

This is the thing I find the hardest!! I don’t think I am alone here, I think a lot of creative people find this side a bit difficult. I could probably easily market anything else but I struggle with my own work, probably because I am so emotionally involved with it. I use social media networks and I have a newsletter. It’s a resolution for 2014 to put myself out there more and really put some effort into marketing myself.

Best business decision? Why?

Do you mean apart from joining Photodeck?! I think it would be to print my own work. I like to have control over the quality and ensure that the print is the best it can be – it is something that I get complimented on by clients a lot. Having said that, as I can only print to a certain size, I have just started working with a printing company who have been great and who make beautiful prints. I still have the control over the quality but it means that I can now print my work at a much larger size which looks great.

Worst mistake? What would you have done differently?

Not having enough back ups of my work! Last year I had all my RAW files on an external Hard Drive and also with an online back up company. The day before I went to Morocco for 2 months there was a bug between my computer and the online back up so the data corrupted. I didn’t have time to back up before I went so when I returned 2 months later I started to back up online again. As I had over 10,000 photos it was a very slow process. Before I had even got 10% through, my external Hard Drive broke and it was so badly damaged that no data could be retrieved. Losing over 10,000 photos was absolutely gutting, so now I have them on two external Hard Drives and also through an online back up company!

Do you use any sort of backup method as you’re traveling?

When traveling I use an Epson P7000 which holds 80GB of storage. If I am on a long trip I will also take the P5000 to give me some added storage, especially as I don’t delete any photos until I get back and see them on the computer. I also take my MacBook Pro with me so I can work on photos whilst away and that has additional storage if I need it.

by Sandra Jordan

How do you see the future?

It seems to be an exciting time for me at the moment. With two trips in the pipeline, participating in an exhibition at the end of March and working on some projects with interior designers through an arts consultancy, 2014 has started very well. My plan is to continue developing my portfolio, do a lot more marketing, have another solo exhibition and work with new clients on commissions.

Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?

To get out and about with your camera and keep photographing everything and anything until you find a style that you want to spend time developing. When you don’t have your camera with you, look around and ‘see’ what you would photograph and think how you would compose the scene. I also think researching work of other photographers helps you to see what you are most interested in.

Is there a particular photographer who has inspired you?

I can’t say there is only one as there are so many talented photographers out there and I draw bits of inspiration from them all. The ones I keep going back to though are Josef Hoflehner (I saw his exhibition in Paris and was completely blown away by his work), Chuck Kimmerle, Ebru Sidar, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Joel Tjintjelaar.

by Sandra Jordan

What is your current biggest challenge and how are you addressing it?

As I mentioned above, that would definitely be marketing. I always get a great response when I do do some marketing but it doesn’t come naturally to me, it’s something that I really need to work on.

What do you use PhotoDeck for?

Currently mainly to showcase my portfolio to existing and new clients. I love the Lightbox option, not only is it easy for clients to save a selection of their favourite photos, it has been great for me to put photos into a Lightbox to suggest to a client who is after a certain brief. It is a good vehicle to sell my prints directly, although I keep printing in-house as I like to examine every print before it goes out. I am hoping to expand the licensing side in the future though as I think this is a great option.

by Sandra Jordan

Have your clients commented on your website? What did they like?

Yes, I did a mail out once I had finished building the site and I had so many positive comments, which just re-affirmed that I had made a good choice to swap to PhotoDeck. Apart from compliments on my work, everyone said how professional the site looked and how easy it was to navigate. They liked the simplicity of the design which showcased my work perfectly.

What initially drew you to PhotoDeck?

I had a website previously but it wasn’t as business orientated as PhotoDeck. I ended up having to have two sites, one for my portfolio/information and another where people could purchase my prints. PhotoDeck seamlessly combines the two and also has the addition of allowing immediate licensing which was very appealing to me. There are many more facilities with PhotoDeck that I have yet to explore too which I am looking forward to doing.

What improvement would you most love to see?

I have only been with PhotoDeck a couple of months and I am still playing around with all the services. Currently it has everything I need, I can’t think of anything that would make my life easier right now.

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TIP // Creating a shipping profile for studio pickup

If you’re selling prints or products on your website and want to give your clients the option to pick them up at your studio, you can use a shipping profile to make this easy.

Studio Pickup profile

First, create a standard shipping profile using one of the provided templates via the My Business tab. Next, remove all the default columns and rows except for one. You can label the shipping tier as “Studio Pickup”. Set a price for this shipping option. You can make this free, but also choose to charge your clients a fee, for example to cover packaging costs.

Studio Pickup checkout

In the Settings section, choose a name for your shipping profile and enter a name for the option, which will be displayed to your clients, in the “Shipping Name” field. The Description field would be a good place to enter the address of your studio, so your clients immediately know where to pick it up.

Now all you need to do is attach your shipping profile to a pricing profile, and you’re ready to offer studio pickup to your clients.

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TIP // Connecting to your Facebook/Twitter accounts

A great way to reach more potential clients and build an audience is to use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. With PhotoDeck you can easily connect to these accounts to automatically share new public images.

Connecting to social networks

Head over to ME / My Profile and visit the Advanced to connect to your accounts. Click on “Connect to your account” for the desired social network and log in using your password.

Once you’re connected, you may want to enable automatic sharing to your pages or accounts. Check the appropriate checkboxes, and don’t forget to save your changes.


You can also customize the message that is automatically displayed to your followers. The default is “10 new images added to my website today”, but maybe you can come up with something attention-grabbing specific to your audience. Lastly, remember to set up a time of day for your posts to be created.

Only public images are shared to your social networks, so files in your private client galleries remain safe.

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TIP // Taking your site offline

While you’re setting up your site or making major changes that will take some time, in some cases it may be better to take your site offline. This way, visitors won’t come across an unfinished site. Of course the PhotoDeck administration panel will always remain available.

To take your site offline, go to My Website / General Settings and visit the Advanced tab. Then, uncheck the “Site online” box and save your changes.

Site Online

Now, when visiting your website, the message “Website is not online yet. Please come back later!” will be displayed to your visitors.

Another option on this page is the ability to exclude your website from search engines. Enable this setting if you want to keep your site private. Note that it is up to individual search engines to honor this request.

Remember that the internet is public, and even with search engine indexing disabled, visitors may still stumble upon your site. If you’re concerned about privacy and your content, the best option is always to password-protect your galleries.

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