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Stripe add-on is SCA compatible

October 3, 2019

I am happy to say that the Stripe add-on has been updated to work with their new Payment Intents system! This is for all the EU users who need their online payments compatible with the new SCA regulations. Please make sure to update to both Sunshine 2.8.8 and Stripe 2.0 in order to take advantage of these new features.

Why you aren’t succeeding as a photographer and 4 ways to change that

January 19, 2017

organized

Doctors are the healers in our society, so when you come across one you trust you listen to what she says. I do at least. My current family doctor is one such doctor and a few years ago, during my annual check up, she sighed, put down her clipboard, and said, “guess what the hardest part of my job is?”

I gave it honest consideration. I assume she’s poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into post secondary education and that there would be a lot of difficult things in her line of work. I made a few wrong guesses before she told me: Convincing people to take care of themselves properly was the hardest thing in her line of work.

That’s pretty incredible, when you think about it. She told me that her ability to properly diagnose a disease is very good but she estimates that only 5% of her patients do what she recommends (regarding diet, sleep, play, exercise – you know, bodily maintenance). She then made some recommendations for how I could be improving my health, which I’ve stuck to as best I can – with awesome results.

Open disclosure here: What I’m going to try to persuade you to do for your business is as unsexy as my doctor’s prescription for more vegetables and less processed meat.

Would you trust me though, if I told you that it would make such an enormous difference in your business that you’ll be angry at yourself for not doing it sooner? Maybe.

Would you be more inclined if I told you that it was the most efficient way to be lazy? Now I’ve got your attention.

First, meet Jay

Jay is “young and dumb” – his own words. Around his neck always dangles a camera. On his wall a photography diploma hangs above his messy desk. In his email inbox are a few offerings for some jobs – head shots, product shots, family shots, whatever. Probably even a wedding or two. He doesn’t even advertise himself. People just dig his work and want to give him money. In a digital world saturated with images, his photos somehow stick out. Despite this, he’s failing. He can’t “pull it together” because the business of running a photography studio just “overwhelms” him (his own words, again). Advertise, develop a brand, taxes, back up systems, book keeping, customer service are not his strong points. “I just like to take pictures” (again, his words).

Meet Greg

I met with one of his professors. Let’s call him Greg. Greg is a professor because his own photography studio doesn’t earn enough for him to shoot full time. Not even close in fact. He prefers to shoot film which gives him a cool niche market and he can actually charge a pretty penny for a wedding though fewer and fewer people are looking for that. Despite him doing very little business lately, he has boxes of receipts and notebooks so heavy that the shelves holding them all dip in the middle. He prefers to do his own book keeping with a pen rather than say, accounting software. Getting ahold of him isn’t easy. He doesn’t text and barely emails. He prefers phone calls and written letters. As I got to know him a little more, the pattern was more obvious: he prefers to do things the way he learned them rather than adapt to changing landscapes. If you tell him that this is the fast track to irrelevant skill sets, he’ll shrug and hang up the phone.

Meet Sylvia

I contrast Jay and Greg with someone who recently bought Sunshine Pro. Her name for these purposes is “Sylvia”. After her purchase, Sylvia had a few questions which she emailed me. Actually, she had a lot of questions and I began to realize how new she was to photography. When I asked her about it, she apologized for asking so many questions and I told her that I didn’t mind. She opened up more and I eventually learned that she’d just gone through a life changing event. After the event, she realized that her life as a certified accountant was boring her out of her mind, so she quit. She also got a divorce, moved to a new city out of state, and even dyed her hair a funky color. YOLO, right? What next? Similar to Jay, she liked taking photos. Without knowing what a RAW file was, without even understanding aperture, ISO or shutter speed, she started taking photos in exchange for money. She learned the craft of photography mainly through CreativeLive and was happily making enough to cover her bills. She had a crop-censor camera, 2 lenses, a flash, and an Adobe Membership (note: that was a year ago, she’s now enjoying a crazy amount of success, and has better tools). She was making a living with a camera, but blushed when she called herself a ‘photographer’.

Why care about these people?

Jay, and his professor, despite all their photography know-how, are both doing worse (Jay had to move back in with his parents). All three of these people are likeable and intelligent, and take great photos.

So, what the difference? Why is Sylvia killing it while the other two struggle?

Well, there are lots of differences….but in my opinion, the difference that really makes a difference is organization. Jay has never learned any organization skills, and his professors organization skills are better suited to the 1980’s. Sylvia, after a career organizing the finances of various corporate entities, knows how to get shit down and kick ass in a very quiet and efficient way.

Think about it like this: In life, if you’re a healthy human, you have 3 main resources: Time, Money, Energy.

Everything you do spends some of your resources. Working Starbucks, for example, depletes your time and energy, but you get some money. Binge watching Netflix spends your time and a bit of money, but not much energy. When it comes to business, you want it to earn money, with minimal expenditures of time and energy. That’s the basic equation. Here, let me give that it’s own paragraph.

In business, you want to maximize money earning, and minimize time and energy spent.

The only way to do that is to be organized.

The photography industry is, as you know, very competitive. Everybody right now is competing to win that international award, to get followers on Instagram, to get to the top of Google–and it’s generally a good idea to market yourself like that.

But getting really, really organized is how to quietly compete with others in a battle that is vital but not well understood or even acknowledged. If you’re organized, you’ll get your business done, you’ll get your money, and you’ll have some time and energy left for your family and thinking up a new creative way to differentiate yourself.

If I’ve convinced you that organization is wildly important, good.

Here are 4 areas of your business, as well as immediately actionable strategies for improving organization:

1) Customer Service:

The importance of customer service is one that Ryan Brenizer, probably the world’s most famous wedding photographer, talks about often when he speaks at conventions. In a talk that I watched him give, he actually said that he outsources his emailing and scheduling because he knows that returning emails promptly was so vitally important to sales that he couldn’t afford to let this fall behind, but that he didn’t have the time to be as responsive as he wanted to.

Since he didn’t have the time, he leveraged another resource: money. Most of us aren’t quite wealthy enough to outsource customer service (and administrative tasks generally), but there are software programs (apps) that streamline customer service and scheduling. 17 Hats is a popular business management program that is relatively easy to organize. It’s somewhat quick and dirty, with somewhat limited options. Better than nothing, but not the best. I recommend this to people who need something set up really quick. Tave is another business management program that I’ve seen more closely. It was designed specifically for photography businesses and is extremely powerful for client communications, scheduling and a host of other useful things. A couple caveats about Tave though: first, it’s a bit expensive (at $50/month, last time I checked) and it requires about 80 hours (or more) of tinkering, inputting, head-scratching to get this working for you. It’s a big, complicated program, and it takes a while to figure out how to pour your business into this vessel. To help, there is a Facebook group that you’ll be invited to join (if you purchase the software) and the community is pretty good at helping with problems when they inevitably surface. Even with the help though, put aside 2 weeks of full time work to get it set up for yourself.

If programs like Tave or 17 Hats won’t work for you (although I maintain that for the money, energy and time you put into it, you’ll be rewarded with more of each in the long run), then you can probably do just as well with free tools like Gmail (make sure to utilize their “canned responses”, for example) as well as Google calendars. Read up on how to use these to serve you best.

2) Finances:

Money is a lot like sex. Everyone wants it but it’s impolite to talk about.

The thing is, countries that provide the most sexual education (including not only health-related concerns, but pleasure, consent and non-standard sexual activity) tend to have fewer unwanted pregnancies and less STD spread.

Likewise, people with a solid education in finances tend to do better with their money. So get good at talking about money. Let’s get educated. You could go do a 2 or 4 year degree in finances, but…don’t. People have already done that. They’re called financial advisers, accountants, and bankers. Set up meetings with these people. If you know any financial people in your life (brothers, sisters, old friends), even better. Wine and dine them.

If you’re not in a position to pay for financial services, there are still options. See if your local government has free resources for small business. Another thing you can do is offer to trade some of your effort for financial advise. Do some head shots, help with their social media – trade your services for some of theirs. Caveat: a lot of the time, people working in finances get a commission from anything you buy through them, so expect to get sold to (unfortunately) and be skeptical about any investing portfolios/services they “offer”.

Another excellent strategy is to find a small business owner (a photographer would be best) and reach out. Offer them lunch at least. Take notes when you meet anybody. Podcasts can also be a great way to keep current (listen while you edit, right?). Being Boss is an excellent resource for small business owners. You can get good at streamlining finances.

3) Staying Current:

There are so many ways to keep current that it’s easy to waste time and money just consuming information. I’ve been guilty of this myself. I used to stay current by via email newsletters, through workshops, by reading trade magazines, and by keeping up with a few blogs. I still do some of this actually. Although better than falling behind, it was an expensive and time-consuming way to keep up with the ever-shifting landscape of technology that affects my business.

I’ve since found that being social keeps me just as up-to-date, saves time and money, and is more fun. I bet this would be even truer for photographers. I can guarantee that there are a bunch of photography groups in your city. Some of them will go out shooting birds or urban scenes, some will meet up over beer and talk about the business, and most of them have Facebook groups where you can ask questions. These meetings are where you want to be. People love to talk about the new toys and strategies that help them win. So unsubscribe to “content” and meet up with some humans instead. Not only will they sift out the best new trends, you’ll inevitably get job referrals from your new crew.

4) The Inter-Webs:

It’s no doubt easier than it’s ever been to run a business. You don’t need the brick and mortar shop, your storefront is digital, can be visited 24 hours a day, and it can fit in everybody’s pocket. That’s great! The trade off for this is that people have come to expect constant access to visually pleasing, easy-to-navigate websites with no glitches. Meeting this expectation is usually the first filter for potential clients. If your website fails, they won’t give you their money.

Assuming that you’re not a webmaster, your choices leading to likely website success are either outsourcing your webwork to good people (recommended) or going DIY. Whatever your case is, I always recommend WordPress.org as the platform to work from. Its being open-source tends to keep it very current (and very free). From there, there are plenty of templates that can be used, some requiring a larger learning curve than others. There are also third-party software companies that create add-ons that can extend your website’s functionality to do anything you want (including my own Sunshine Photo Cart, which greatly streamlines sales, among other things). With WordPress, a good theme, and with Sunshine Photo Cart, you’d have a fairly problem-free and straight forward website capable of all that you want from it. Best yet, WordPress is a platform that plenty of programmers are familiar with. Therefore, when you can afford to outsource your webwork, there’ll be plenty of skilled programmers to work with.

Now get to it

Now that I’ve laid down what I think are, for most people, four ripe areas to start implementing organization, I want to add that I recommend organization for the sake of slack, for the sake of having a bit of fun.

Without organization, you can still probably succeed. You can just work really hard, days, evenings and weekends. Plenty of people do it this way, until they burn out.

Another thing that people do, is always find “busy work” to do (extreme type-A people, I’m talking about you). I don’t recommend implementing organization just for the sake of organization, for the sake of keeping busy. Busy isn’t the goal. Busy is the opposite goal, actually.

The value of organization in business goes back to the simple equation: maximize money earning, and minimize time and energy spent. Bill Gates is famous for saying “I always hire the lazy person to do a hard job because he will find an easy way to do it”.

Be that person for your business.

Web hosting poll

January 18, 2017

I am looking to build a good Resources page for Sunshine users. One of the important questions that comes up fairly frequently is which web host does Sunshine work well on. So, below is a survey for all current Sunshine users to get some information regarding their current web host and how well Sunshine has been working for them.

 

 

Creating a successful “brand” as a photographer

September 8, 2016

Successful photographers are very careful with their brand — and with good reason! Everyone praises the Apple’s brand (which has a value of $145 billion USD) and agrees that Jared Fogle’s sex crimes were bad news for Subway’s brand. But if you ask any three people what the word “brand” really means, I bet you’ll get 3 different definitions. Worse, though most agree that branding is important, very few can explain why it is important.

What I hope to do here is turn the definition of branding upside down for you so that, from this new perspective, your understanding of branding is deeper and more actionable.

An Upside Down Definition of Brand

The word “brand” is old and originally meant fire, flames, and touch. Think of the old (and insensitive) practice of branding a cow with a heated iron in order to identify ownership. Unfortunately, branding one’s photography business is not much more sophisticated than this process. If the cow is their business, the iron is their logo and slogan.

This unrefined approach to branding results from the common misconception that branding is something that one does to their business. A website is established, colors are chosen, a slogan and a logo and done up and slapped on.  Defined this way, a brand is all the stuff that is tacked on to your photography business — it’s a brand-aid applied to a wounded enterprise.

It’s more useful to define brand as what your client perceives and believes about you. Brand is not what you do, it’s how you’re viewed.

When Forbes magazine declares that Apple’s brand is worth $145 billion, this means that many are aware of the brand, many trust the brand, are willing buy from them (over competitors) and pay premium, and spread the word. Notice that the value of the brand isn’t about how cool the logo is, or how their slogan, “think different”, is persuasive. Of course, all this stuff is important for shaping how people view Apple, but it’s people’s collective view that is the brand.

The brand is firmly anchored in the psychology of customers. It’s how others feel about Apple.  If this is our definition of a brand, then creating a brand is nothing other than making an impression on people — not only that, but a powerful impression that converts the right people into clients. Some photographers have absolutely mastered this skill, so let’s take a few case studies.

The Stories They Tell

As you may already know, Two Mann Studios blew up the wedding photography world when Lanny and Erika Mann (the husband and wife duo who make up Two Mann Studios) won 1st and 2nd place for the 2015 FearLess awards. If you visit their website, you’ll see that they have many awards and accolades noted there, from very prestigious sources. Looking at the photography they display online is startling. It’s extremely contrastive, the colors are heavily saturated, the compositions and lighting are unconventional and photographers struggle to figure out how they did it, and the content of the photos is often risky, cheeky, playful, or emotionally charged. They name their workshop “Balls Out Wedding Photography” and “The Art of Getting Lucky”.

Two Mann is telling a story. If Apple’s brand tells a story about innovation and good taste, Two Mann tells a story about mind-blowing, award-winning photographs of your wild and epic wedding.

Sam Hurd is another photographer whose brand is obvious and effective. Like Two Mann, epic is part of the story he tells, but a different kind of epic. His “epic portrait series” are in one sense conventional: they’re a well-lit headshot (albeit of celebrity-status people). He shot them epically, however, by using the brenizer method with off-camera flash from a very close perspective to create very interesting images.  When shooting, he often holds prisms up to his camera lens to create unusual reflections and light flares.  The technique, “prisming“, is now associated with Hurd. He’s also known for “freelensing” — using a broken lens to create unique photos. His photos are subtle, pretty, painterdly, mysterious, sometimes grainy and disarming. There’s something mythic in his images. Navigation of his website is equally as unusual (I’d been to his site many times before I realized how to navigate his personal work section!).

Sam Hurd is also telling a story.  It’s about artistic expression, visual refinement, using the camera creatively — about pushing the limits of optics and light and making mystery.

To understand this aspect of branding better, it’s useful to try to do this for yourself.  Look at the Todd Laffler’s website and, using his photos, what he says about himself, his logo — everything — describe the story he’s telling. Then figure out the story of your biggest competitor. Then, begin asking yourself what kind of story you want to tell.

Stories to Believe

Ashley Madison tells the story that extramarital affairs are a good idea, and that they can help you do it discretely.  Of course, it’s awfully hard to believe them because they got hacked and the data was leaked. When you see a real-estate agent’s face and slogan (“#1 trusted and knowledgeable property specialist in the city!”) plastered on a park bench, do you believe him? Probably not. The real-estate agent hasn’t told a compelling enough story, and Ashley Madison hasn’t kept its promise.

To tell a compelling and believable story these days demands authenticity — telling true enough stories. Two Mann Studios doesn’t position themselves as bold, daring and mind-blowing because they’ve analyzed the market and saw an opportunity there. They did it because they are bold, adventurous and sporty individuals — if photography were a sport, they’d be playing the extreme sports version. Sam Hurd doesn’t photograph in a way comparable to sports, I don’t think. But similar to Two Mann, his refined, experimentive style isn’t just market-positioning either — it’s what he genuinely likes and feels compelled to do. I truly believe that if he couldn’t make a living as a photographer, he’d come home after his day job and still shoot with prisms and broken lenses. It’s in him. Neither Two Mann nor Sam Hurd are going to follow Pinterest trends or do traditional wedding photography because it’s not them. And if they did it, we’d be let down, wouldn’t we? If they posted a bunch of photos that conformed to Pinterest trends, it would weaken the stories that surround them, and thus, dilute their brand

To tell your story, you have to figure out what your story is. Ask yourself the tough questions and let yourself struggle with them. What do you love shooting? Why? How do you want your images to look? Does your photography make people look pretty? Dignified? Unusual? Funky? Mysterious?  Do you want to shoot wild weddings? Intimate ceremonies? Are you award winning? Do you have a talent for connecting with clients? Do you want to specialize in outdoor hippie weddings? Are you a master at off-camera flash or working really well with natural light? Are you the cheapest photographer in town? Do you have the best albums or the fastest turnaround times? What are the things that are really important to you? Get curious about yourself as a photographer, and then tell your story.

The Story You Tell

Remember: you can tell your story, but your brand is what others perceive you to be. You can tell the story that you care deeply about your clients, but if your potential client has to wait too long for a reply to their email and when it does come, it’s a generic response, you’ve probably lost their trust — they’re telling themselves a different story about you. If you claim to have the best albums and then you cut costs by providing the cheapest China-made albums you can find, then those flimsy pages and mediocre binding will shape your brand in the minds of everyone who sees your album.  If your clients are upset enough, she might say something on Facebook and further lessen the value of your brand. The story isn’t in your control except when clients interface directly with you. Consistent storytelling demands that you make promises that you’re fully prepared to keep.

The only way to do this, is to live your story, to be authentic. In other words, Apple’s slogan, “think different” was something that Steve Jobs embodied, and he attracted the right people when he told his story. It was beautiful marketing because for him, it was true.

As you tell your own story, you may find yourself feeling anxious. This is a good sign! You’re really putting yourself out there to be accepted or rejected — and some people will reject you. But the people who find you because what you live will resonate and love you. If you adore movie-themed weddings, go for it. You will find your people. Very few niches are too small!  Allebach photography has reached enormous success by focusing on tattooed brides.

As you tell your story, it’s important to remember that every point of contact that a customer has with your business is an opportunity to tell your story. If part of your story is friendly professionalism, then all points of contact (email, phone, website, blog posts) should embody this. Then, when a past clients tells her friend that you are ” OMG, so friendly and so professional!”, that becomes part of your brand, and it is spreading.  When a potential clients receives an email from your Gmail account instead of a more professional-sounding email server, that also becomes part of your brand too. If you’re trying to tell a story of luxury, the quality of paper your business cards are printed on will either reinforce your story or undermine it. The font you choose tells a story.

Noteworthy Points of Contact:

  1. Your website is, in many cases, your first and most powerful impression on a potential client.  Unless you’re either an experienced coder or you’re paying to have your website built, WordPress, is your best option by far, for website creation. It offers the most flexibility in terms of branding (as well as many other features, including SEO control).  Many themes are available for WordPress, enabling you to achieve precisely the look and feel that tells the story you want to tell.  Themes are available to give your site a funky flavor, an edgy mood, a pretty pastels vibe, or whatever else  etc. Once you achieve exactly the look and feel, there are plugins that further expand the capability of your website. One plugin particularly relevant here is my very own Sunshine Photo Cart, which allows photographers to extend their brand/story to more points of contact for their clients, specifically, the clients’ galleries.  Instead of hosting your client galleries on a 3rd party site (like SmugMug, for example), which directs clients to a different URL with a different design, Sunshine allows photographers to keep client galleries within their own site, with their own URL, and contained within their own branding.  The main benefit of this is that if your brand is vintage (for example), your clients galleries will maintain your brand integrity.  Another advantage is that it allows photographers to side-step transaction fees.
  2. The way you pose and light your subjects, and your subsequent post-production, all give a look and feel that ought to be consistent with your brand.  Sensual posing doesn’t necessarily fit into a story about fashion-forward stoicism. Grainy, matte, and desaturated images don’t lend themselves to a bold and modern story. CreativeLive offers wonderful courses on how to sharpen these skills.
  3. Upwork, Fiverr and 99Designs are great places to have design work done, as well as copywriting.
  4. Design Aglow is cornucopia of ready-made customizable templates for marketing, welcoming packages, price lists, emails, blog, printing, and more.
  5. The products that you offer to your clients — albums, canvases, prints — all create a strong impression on your client.  Unfortunately for you, it’s not easy to judge whether a particular company offers exactly what you’re looking for (ideally, you want to hold an album in your hands to judge its quality), and buying albums from all the companies that you’re interested in can quickly become extremely expensive. If you get yourself to photography conventions, like Mystic Seminars and WPPI, lots of vendors also attend and you’ll have a chance to get your hands on some of their work, to educate yourself, and to offer your clients products that fit seamlessly into your brand.

Conclusion

To create a successful brand, like Two Mann, Sam Hurd, or Mike Allebach, it’s best to do it through stories. We humans love stories so much that if you don’t tell a story, we’ll make one up about you.  The best stories are those that come from a place of authenticity. Consumers are used to be being marketed at — through TV commercial, Facebook ads, Youtube ads, everywhere — and they’re good at ignoring, and they’re suspicious of people trying to make a quick buck. An authentic story is consistent, and people can resonate with real stories. You’re telling it because it’s you. From the case studies provided, hopefully your wheels are turning now on what your story is, and how you can best tell it.

Sunshine 2.5 Released

July 11, 2016

I am very happy to announce that Sunshine 2.5 includes one of the most frequently requested features: Guest Checkout. Most of our add-ons had large improvements or at the least changes which require you update them. We have also released two new add-ons: Authorize.net and Price Lists!

Guest Checkout

In your Sunshine > Settings > Checkout, there is an option to enable Guest Checkout. With this enabled, users will not be required (but they will still be prompted) to provide a password to create an account. Many people do not like having to create yet another account and now Sunshine can accommodate those users. This should help make selling to your clients even easier and better.

New Add-on: Authorize.net

I don’t get many requests for payment gateways but finally enough people have asked for Authorize.net. Authorize.net is one of the most common payment gateways in the US so this should open up Sunshine to more users with Authorize.net accounts.

New Add-on: Price List

This was a fun add-on to create as it went from a request by one of Sunshine’s most avid testers to a reality in less than 2 days. With the Price List add-on, using the new short code you can embed the pricing for Sunshine products on any page. Helpful for those who publicly show their prices on their website.

Lightbox Layout Update

I have been wanting to make some subtle changes to the lightbox to help it work a little better for users for a while now. The new layout pushes the image thumbnail to the left side which allows the product list to be more visible. This makes looking through the product list much easier. Also, the Back to Gallery link is more clearly visible and a simple Cart Summary has been added for even more helpful information for users. Small changes that add to up a big improvement in the overall experience for users.

new-lightbox

Other Add-on Updates

9 other of our add-ons just had updates released. Whoa! Most of them are minor enhancements, bug fixes or changes to work with the new Guest Checkout feature.

PLEASE NOTE: It is very important to update both the main Sunshine plugin and all the add-ons to so everything is compatible with the new Guest Checkout system. All our payment gateways and the Digital Downloads add-on had major changes and must be updated to work with 2.5.

2.5 Released with Guest Checkout, New Add-ons and more!

I am very happy to announce that Sunshine 2.5 includes one of the most frequently requested features: Guest Checkout. Most of our add-ons had large improvements or at the least changes which require you update them. We have also released two new add-ons: Authorize.net and Price Lists!

Guest Checkout

In your Sunshine > Settings > Checkout, there is an option to enable Guest Checkout. With this enabled, users will not be required (but they will still be prompted) to provide a password to create an account. Many people do not like having to create yet another account and now Sunshine can accommodate those users. This should help make selling to your clients even easier and better.

New Add-on: Authorize.net

I don’t get many requests for payment gateways but finally enough people have asked for Authorize.net. Authorize.net is one of the most common payment gateways in the US so this should open up Sunshine to more users with Authorize.net accounts.

New Add-on: Price List

This was a fun add-on to create as it went from a request by one of Sunshine’s most avid testers to a reality in less than 2 days. With the Price List add-on, using the new short code you can embed the pricing for Sunshine products on any page. Helpful for those who publicly show their prices on their website.

Lightbox Layout Update

I have been wanting to make some subtle changes to the lightbox to help it work a little better for users for a while now. The new layout pushes the image thumbnail to the left side which allows the product list to be more visible. This makes looking through the product list much easier. Also, the Back to Gallery link is more clearly visible and a Cart Summary has been added for even more helpful information for users. Small changes that add to up a big improvement in the overall experience for users.

lightbox

Other Add-on Updates

9 other of our add-ons just had updates released. Whoa! Most of them are minor enhancements, bug fixes or changes to work with the new Guest Checkout feature.

PLEASE NOTE: It is very important to update both the main Sunshine plugin and all the add-ons to so everything is compatible with the new Guest Checkout system. All our payment gateways and the Digital Downloads add-on had major changes and must be updated to work with 2.5.

Our New Promotional Video

June 8, 2016

Excited to have our new promotional video all complete! I feel like this makes Sunshine legit.

Sunshine 2.4 is now available

June 6, 2016

Sunshine 2.4 is now available for automatic update. This release addresses general image security but more focused using the Digital Downloads add-on.

This is a big update in terms of structure. As such, there is a very important upgrade process which needs to be run, you will be notified of how to do so in the admin area.

So what has changed?

Images no longer in “wp-content” folder

To help address image security issues, it was decided that everything uploaded to Sunshine galleries needed to be in it’s own folder, away from standard files and images uploaded into the default “wp-content/uploads” folder. By putting Sunshine images into their own folder, better security rules could be put in place which can protect Sunshine related images but not affect your other uploads which was happening for some users.

Whenever you upload an image to a Sunshine gallery, it is now placed in the “wp-content/uploads/sunshine/[unique-gallery-id]” folder. So every gallery has it’s own folder now.

With the Digital Downloads add-on, an .htaccess file is placed in “wp-content/sunshine” which prevents any attempt to directly access your full sized uploads.

Small Improvements

  • Better placement of the Phone number field on Checkout
  • Set a PayPal Page Style
  • The Quick Edit screen for Products now lets you define Sunshine options (my personal favorite update this release)
  • Filter Products by Price Level in the admin (if you have the Price Levels add-on)

Discounts Add-on Updated

Along with the 2.4 release, the Discounts add-ons has been updated as well. Discounts can now be applied automatically so users do not even need to enter a coupon code. Want to do an easy 30% off sale for everyone? Now you can!

Also discount codes can be assigned to work only for specific galleries. This allows you to further ensure a client only uses a discount code for their own images or for those using Sunshine for stock imagery you can put only a specific gallery on sale.

Full Changelog

= 2.4 =
* Change – All images moved back to their own “sunshine” folder in wp-content to prevent conflicts with other Media Library files
* Change – New placement for phone number field on checkout
* Change – Pushed back how many days until prompted for survey/review
* Add – Option for PayPal page style
* Add – New notice to remind people to ask for help instead of just assuming something is broken
* Add – Pinterest nopin meta tag when sharing disabled
* Add – Quick edit for products
* Add – Filter products by Price Level in admin
* Fix – If Favorites disabled, was still showing some references to it in places
* Fix – On Checkout/Account, changing country and available state selection was not working
* Fix – When user deletes something from cart, delete selected shipping option forcing them to reselect
* Fix – Issue with certain European date format and setting end date for gallery
* Fix – If Pickup shipping method selected, billing fields not being checked/confirmed they were filled in
* Update – Newest version of FontAwesome

Emma Day 2016

May 3, 2016

emma

 

6 years ago, on May 4th, our daughter Emma passed away at the age of 3 months after battling to recover from multiple surgeries to fix her malformed heart caused by Twin-to-Twin Transfusion.

Every year we celebrate her by focusing on what is most important – being a family. As such, our family: Myself, Erika, Emma’s twin sister Claire and younger brother Oliver, will be together all day having an adventure, laughing, crying and most importantly savoring our time together.

Sunshine Photo Cart got it’s name from our time in the hospital with Emma. Whenever it was time for us to leave, we would sign her You Are My Sunshine. My goal with Sunshine is to build a business that gives me the flexibility to be with our family each and every day. I am greatly appreciative of all those who use Sunshine, contribute to it’s growth and thus help our family be together.

We invite you to celebrate Emma Day this year by taking at least 10 minutes with your family and put everything else aside. Focus on just being together while not letting yourself be distracted by what’s happening with work, that annoying client, what is going to be for dinner, the house being dirty or whatever it is that can keep you from losing focus on the important people to you.

We wish you a happy Emma Day.

Derek, Erika, Claire & Oliver

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