Mobile POS (MPOS) Payment Solutions for Small Business.

Getting your customers to view your small business as professional by being able to accept EFTPOS payments is becoming more and more simple.

PayPal has always been a convenient way to 'get paid' and 'pay' businesses as its linked to your nominated credit card or bank account. They have decided to make it easier for people that are less familiar with this payment method and created PayPal.Me

Simply create your PayPal.Me business profile and then give customers your link for them to send you a payment from their PayPal account or they can use their credit card. What if your customer does not have a PayPal account?... Easy. They have made it super fast and easy to be able to join and pay in a few clicks.

View how simple it is by looking at my profile which offers a simple explanation of the businesses and you set the amount you would like to pay.

www.paypal.me/joelgray

A device-free simple way to receive payments.

Have a PayPal Business Account?.... 'PayPal Here' is a mobile device that connects via bluetooth to your mobile phone with their APP to take CREDIT CARD Payments (Not Cheque or Savings) via a machine you can 'swipe' or 'insert' cards or make contact-less payments that attracts NO Monthly-fee and No Contract.

The device is available from Officeworks for $149

ANZ also now offer a payment solution for business that have lower EFTPOS transactions/sales than a traditional business called ANZ FastPay - which is a swipe and chip reading device.

ANZ FastPay is relatively cheap at $5 per month.

Transaction fees for the merchant are slightly higher than a normal MPOS terminal, but much the same as PayPal transaction fees. ($5 a month for 'device' plus $10 a month for a 'merchant account' vs. around $100 per month for a typical Mobile EFT terminal including merchant account fee)

This simple device plugs into the headphone jack of your mobile phone. With the Free App - you only need a merchant account to be ready for MPOS (Mobile Point of Sale) transactions. 

This tiny device displays the scrambled key positions for entering your pin which changes after each number entry. Its a little different but is supposed to be highly secure as neither device can store pin or card information.

Fast Pay.png

No need for a printer to create a reciept, just enter the customers email address during the transaction for them to have one emailed immediately. Transactions each day are generally available in your account after 6:30pm each day.

In 2016 sometime - FastPay is soon to be contactless for even faster tap-and-go transactions.

In a world where we are all time-poor, I use a few of these payment methods in my business to make payments quicker and easier for both me and my client.

Four Main Elements in Photography

Creating a professional photo takes far more than simply pulling a camera phone and taking a snapshot.

Professional quality photography requires careful consideration, composing each image and understanding how light is captured to create the desired effect could only be described an art and a science.

Here are some top lighting techniques that many professional photographers use to improve the look of their photographs in any lighting condition.

1. SHUTTER SPEED: One of the main consideration in photography is shutter speed. Shutter speed controls ambient light (that is the light that is available or natural light) With a DSLR it's fairly simple to adjust the shutter speed or exposure time on the shot you are taking. Adjusting the shutter speed will change the length of the time that the digital sensor is exposed to light. Adjusting the length of the time that the shutter is open can help you to blur specific objects like motion, giving the idea of movement or have more success photographing at night. Shutter speeds can also be adjusted to freeze moving objects when there is enough light or this can be aided with the help of flash.

2. ISO: This adjusts the camera sensitivity to light, most digital cameras have access to ISO controls and any DSLR will have access to ISO controls as well. With a higher ISO number it's possible to adjust the sensitivity of the digital sensor in your camera or lower the sensitivity with a lower ISO number. Increasing the sensitivity of the sensor ensures better pictures in lowlight environments occasionally reducing the need for a flash. Lower sensitivity (Low ISO number) is perfect for bright days and high light conditions. It's important to note however that High ISO can add extra grain to any image which can look unprofessional.

3. FLASH: Using a proper flash can help you to capture photos in low light conditions, freeze objects in action and more. Different styles of flash are needed for different occasions and photo settings. While many digital cameras come with flash often a fully adjustable flash unit as well as some light shaping tools (snoots, softboxes with grids and umbrellas are needed to get lighting levels from the flash source harder, softer or more direct.

4. APERTURE: The aperture refers to the size of the diaphragm opening in a camera lens. By changing out the camera lens or setting the maximum and minimum aperture of a lens it's possible to regulate the amount of light that enters into the lens. Adjusting these levels will change the sharpness of the background in your images and help you achieve a number of desired effects. Professional lenses have an aperture of F1.2 - F1.8 or lower allowing dramatic depth-of-field (background blur)

Mastering these 4 main light settings on your camera will help you get out of AUTO mode and to take more professional photographs and really make your photos really stand out

How To Prepare For Your Family Photo Shoot

Lets Face it!.. Just organizing the family for a normal day can be a huge task. Add the stress of getting ready for some family photos and that's enough to make everyone tired before you even begin.

This does not just effect your family - It also effects the photographer when he or she is trying their best to make everyone happy and comfortable and get some natural smiles.

Here are a few tips for preparing for your family photo shoot that will hopefully make the day a lot easier to cope with and can result in much more natural images.

The following is advice for clients:

1. CLOTHING

Have your clothing chosen way in advance. Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics. Think creams, very soft pastels, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues. Don't be too matching for everyone's clothing, also don't wear too much black or white. Adding accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc is a great idea too.

2. BE RESTED AND REFRESHED

Make sure not to schedule your photo session around your child's nap time, and if they have missed their sleep it may result in less than desirable images so it may be advisable to re-schedule. Its best not to show up to a photo shoot on an empty stomach.  Don't come to a photo session with dinner scheduled at the end.  If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack before the photo shoot.

3. PREPARE IN ADVANCE

Women are very capable, and can often utilize every moment in their day more effectively than fathers. Mum's are often rushing around before a photo shoot trying to get their family completely dressed and ready - but its not always a good idea in this situation. This may leave little time for themselves and if mum is not feeling good about herself because she did not have enough time to get ready (because she is organizing everyone else) this will show in the photos.

I recommend mums getting their hair and makeup professionally done... even if its from a girlfriend. (or at least HAIR as some women prefer to do their make-up themselves)

This will prepare mum for her pictures and when mum is feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family as well.  Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing and preparation for unexpected delays. 

When a family shows up to a family photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session.  Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.

4. DADS - BE HAPPY PARTICIPANTS

Dad's can often dread the day they feel dragged along by their partners to the family photo session.

If you have been together for any length of time you understand that when SHE is happy... then YOU are happy!.. Guys you need to understand how important capturing your family is. Your partner is looking forward to creating these images to be able to show everyone how proud she is of her family and your help is vital. Once you see your happy wife / partner and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.

5. LEAVE THE CHEESE IN THE FRIDGE

Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home in the fridge. Cheese is for crackers. 

So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese kids!”  Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. 

Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children - to ask questions about their mum and dads, brothers or sisters.  This will result in natural, beautiful smiles. 

Parents - Help the photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.

6. MAKE IT FUN!

Parents, don't be scared to pickup your children or toss them in the air. Give your partner a kiss on the cheek and tell each other how much you love and appreciate what you have together - this will assist with the mood of the day and really show through in your photos.

Have fun.  Laugh. Joke. Embrace.  Kiss.  Snuggle.  Play.  Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family showing everyone natural candid images of each family member and their personalities.

Show your photographer who you really are, so that they have the opportunity to capture your love through their lens.

7. INCORPORATE FAMILY ACTIVITIES

Successful family sessions incorporate an activity that the family loves to do together.  This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face. 

Do you love to read together?  Bring some books.  Love to play board games or cards?  Plan to play a round of Uno or Monopoly during your family photo session.  Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, hiking, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless. 

When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.

8. FORGET THE 'RULES'

To set your mind at ease... NOT everyone needs to be looking at the camera at the same time. Its not the most comfortable thing to do, and most photographers don't like asking everyone to do it.

The best photos come from natural interactions. Playing together as a family would usually be a happy fun time, and while the occasional 'everyone look at the camera' pose is not hard to accomplish its much more appealing and enjoyable when you feel like the camera is not there.

These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.

IN SUMMARY...

Be prepared WELL IN ADVANCE. Be rested and don't skip your meal because you had run out of time. Some people get 'hungry-angry'

If your kids are young a second change of clothes is very advisable in case of mishaps or getting covered in food (should they be eating an ice cream for example)

Dad's can be the biggest help in the day by being cheerful participants. Be a proud dad and support your partner - you will be rewarded in so many ways - most importantly, beautiful photos of your family (and no arguments when you get back home)

MAKE IT FUN ... incorporate family activities and be yourself, then you will have the most natural and candid shots that really show your family and friends the love you have together as a family.

Forget the rules. Not everyone needs to be looking at the camera, and forget about saying 'CHEESE'. Let the photographer engage your family to help create natural interactions and expressions.

What Do I Wear To a Photo Shoot?

I have been asked many times - what should I wear on a portrait or family photo shoot? I wanted to share my thoughts and those of professional photographers I know who have been asked the same question...

1. MATCHING OUTFITS

The only time I could say I have seen matching outfits look good is with twins (of the same gender) as this can emphasize the fact they may be 'identical' twins and can look great.

Otherwise, Unless your going for a specific theme - Its important to co-ordinate your outfits so you are not wearing the exact same thing.

Give the idea a more modern theme by picking two to three colors that complement each other, or wear different shades of the same color.

Also, try to avoid having just one person wear a completely different color, especially when that color is very bright or in stark contrast to the rest of the family. This draws the attention just to that person instead of unifying the group. Of course this is fine if that’s the idea you’re going for.

2. HOME DECOR

Do you love whitewashed floors and furniture? Do you like bright colors? Neutrals?

Since you will be hanging these photos in your house you want to make sure the colors of your clothes go with the color scheme of your home.

In many homes and it really stands out that there is a defined color theme. If you have a lot of LIGHT COLORS (whites, creams, yellow) then you could either go with your images being in 'black and white' OR with everyone wearing 'vibrant colors' to make it pop off the wall.

For Example: If you have a lot of yellow you might want to wear a shade of yellow and white or similar. everyone wearing shades of green or purple might not look so good on a wall where you have a lot of whites and yellows.

3. YOUR BACKGROUND AND CLOTHING

Check with the photographer - What you wear on the day could make you jump out of the image or get lost in the image. This is an important aspect of the day. Here is why...

A GARDEN - You will have many colors in the background, greens, flowers, browns... color will be everywhere. Wearing super bright colors will mean the images will be so full of different shades and colors that you will become lost. In this environment try to have more neutral colors like browns, greys, creams... This will make you stand out from the bright backgrounds and make you visible.

Try not to wear too much white and black. White on a bright day can be hard to make look like a white shirt and not a reflector. Black in in a darker environment can cause it too lose all texture and look like a black spot without being able to see much of that clothing at all.

A BEACH or STUDIO - A beach can have alot of blues and whites and a photo studio can have similar - depending on the backdrops. Bright vivid colors can make really make the photos pop. Just ensure you don't all match in case that is the look you are going for. Remember!...too much white in bright sunlight is not a good idea.

4. LOOSE CLOTHING

Your photos will be a reminder to your loved ones what you look like. Fitted clothes look much more flattering than loose clothes. Check the fit of jackets or collared shirts, and be sure that the collar won’t obscure your face when you sit down and that the shoulders won’t bunch up or get in the way. Guys wearing baggy clothing can make things like the stomach area look larger than it really is.

5. CLOTHING ACCESSORIES

Accessories can add to your outfit and they can be great to use in photos. Men - wear a tie for the woman to hold. Necklaces for the kids to play with or hats to hide behind.

6. CLOTHING COLLECTIONS

FOR KIDS clothing, head to stores that typically have color/style coordinating collections (pumpkin patch or similar) then purchase clothes for all the children from one store. Clothes will me more likely to coordinate better. Depending on budget even KMART or COTTON ON KIDS can have the same coordinating/styles.

7. LIMIT PATTERNS

A dress or shirt with patterns might look good, but if overdone it can make the photo look too 'busy' and detract from the overall image. If the female is wearing a dress with a PATTERN ok... but - then as the male - don't wear a patterned shirt and tie. Same applies with children - Bright clothing and patterns all over the place can just makes your faces get lost in the image.

In photographs, I like to add textures like scarves or belts to add a little more to the image. Don’t shy away from different 'textures'

8. NO CHARACTERS

You might think BATMAN, SUPERMAN or your favorite FOOTBALL TEAM or BAND shirt will look good. Wrong. Your kids might really want to wear their TOY STORY or FROZEN outfit... but i really discourage this because the first thing your eyes are going to be drawn to is what is written on the shirt... your images want to reflect the happiness and emotions with you and your family.

Don't let your images look more like something you just wore to the picnic in the park. You will be thankful for all the years later when your still looking at your photos on the wall and love the way you looked.

9. EXTRA OUTFITS

Unless your photographer tells you otherwise, it’s wise to bring one or more changes or variations of what you are wearing with you on the day. Most photographers will tell you before you book how many “looks” are included in your price, so follow their advice on what sorts of outfits and how many you’ll need.

Think about the types of poses you may do, and your location – You may not want to sit on the ground in a skirt or walk across the park in heels. Don’t forget to pack accessories like belts, shoes and hats that can turn a casual outfit into something classy.

Children especially can find themselves in a situation where they could get dirty or soil their clothing, especially younger children. Be prepared... and then the photographer can make the day as simple and pain free as he or she possibly can.

10. FINALLY....MAKE IT FUN!

Unless its a formal shoot (that's the look you want and have arranged) then keep it simple and make it fun.

Wearing clothes that make you 'feel good' about yourself is important. You really don't want to be in something that makes (YOU) feel like you look overweight, unattractive, uncomfortable, tight and restricted, or loose and revealing - even inappropriate - with the kind of images you or the photographer might have in mind (for example: a dress being too short when sitting or squatting down with your family in the park)

Some posed shots are good, but more candid shots, on the swing or slide, laughing, having fun are more appealing. Many are not happy about posing - and kids have very limited attention spans. So you can even bring toys, or play a game together that does not involve people (like the photographer) getting hit with balls.

I hope these suggestions help. I personally like having people feel comfortable and this makes it much easier to capture natural images.