All posts in Announcements

Have Your Online Galleries Been Hacked?

Are Your Boudoir Clients Photographs Safe and Secure Online?

Today in one of the boudoir forums that I frequent, a member posted about her discovery that there was a forum for voyeurs who were hacking their way in to boudoir galleries online. They weren’t stopping at boudoir galleries though — they were logging in to family galleries, and I’m sure other session galleries.

These people weren’t using the usual hacking methods though, at least not at first. They were actually just finding the path to the gallery and from there guessing the password.

Oh, and they started the thread in 2012. [Corrected. This post originally said November, 2013.]

It just took us until 2014 to find out about it.

More recent posts on the thread talked about using extortion to get money from the women in the galleries that they had found. Yes, threatening to post photos to Facebook unless they were paid off.

Then there were the threads about how they had figured out that they could potentially “scrape” all of the galleries from Red Cart, gaining EVERY PHOTO POSTED there. Boudoir or not. Boudoir was what they were after though.

Voyeur Forum RedCart Scraping of Boudoir Photographs

They weren’t just going after online proofing sites (SmugMug, ZenFolio, and RedCart were all mentioned in their thread), but they were also going after online album proofing sites.

Voyeur Forum Suggests Hacking Album Company Site

Now you might think that your online gallery software or your album proofing company should be doing something to protect you from this hacking. The thing is, if you read their Terms of Service? Every single one of them has an “out” written in to their contract. It is your responsibility to make sure your passwords are secure. Beyond that, if someone gets in to them? Not their fault. (*I could argue that RedCart has a bigger issue on their hands if they were figuring out how to pull down every image on their site. Right now isn’t the time for arguing. Right now is the time to FIX THIS situation.*)

Here is SmugMug’s Terms of Service and here is ZenFolio’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

SmugMug's Very Standard Security Information

SmugMug’s Terms are pretty much the industry standard for ANY hosting service. Their responsibility is limited. It is your responsibility to keep your client’s photos safe.

UPDATE: If you are a Zenfolio user, a photographer started a feature suggestion that people can only guess a password 3 times before being locked out of a gallery. If any of you would vote for it, please go here.

The forum has now moved the post to their “Member’s Only” section, so we can’t see what they have added to it at this point. At the time that the post was moved, the thread was 121 pages long.

Thing is, this may be the one forum that we know about, but I promise you – it is NOT the only forum out there with information like this.

Protecting Your Clients

Ok, now that we are all sufficiently panicked about this, let’s talk about what we can DO about it.

1. Never post your client’s images online, ANYWHERE. Realistically, that is the only safe & secure method to use. I went that route a few years ago when we caught someone trying to hack (truly hack, not just guess at passwords) their way in to my online gallery software that I hosted on my own server. I don’t post my boudoir client’s images online. We meet in person to view the images. (I’ve talked before about my whole In Person Viewing process in these posts: overcoming your fear of in person sales sessions, boudoir photography workflow – preparing for in person sales and the magic of in person sales sessions.)

I do however use an online album proofing company and an online slideshow option. I am considering discontinuing both of those services after today.

But I HAVE to do Online Proofing! (Insert reason here.)

Ok, so option #1 isn’t an option for you, for whatever reason. You simply must post your photos online for them to see them.

2. Use a SECURE password. Using your client’s name? Not a secure password. Using “boudoir”? Not a secure password. Using “sexy”? Not a secure password. These and many more obviously easy to guess passwords were being passed around in this forum. An entire boudoir photographer’s gallery was linked, and every single session used the first name as the password. Yes, they worked. No, that is NOT secure. WORDS, no matter how unique they are to your client, are not secure.

(Want to learn more than you ever wanted to know about password security? Wired Magazine – Secure Passwords Keep You Safer and the scary story of how Mat Honan’s entire world was hacked, Wired Magazine – Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore.)

3. Have a clause in your contract limiting your liability if your galleries are accessed. Do you want your clients coming after you if someone got in to your galleries and took their photos and posted them all over Facebook? No? Then you need to talk with your lawyer to make sure you are protected in case this happens to you. (Yes, just like SmugMug, ZenFolio, and RedCart have in their Terms of Use.) Make sure that your clients understand that no password is EVER completely safe.

Make sure you understand that too. No password is ever completely safe. It is not a matter of if you will be hacked, it is a matter of when. You need to put photos online with that understanding.

From now on, if I ever have to put a gallery online for any reason, I will require my clients to sign a special release for the gallery going online. This is something you should consider not just for boudoir sessions, but for any client. Make sure your client is aware that the photographs could be compromised. For example, some parents do not want their children’s photos viewed by anyone.

4. Be obscure about where your galleries are located at. “One of the best security measures in the online world is “obscurity” otherwise known as “security through obscurity”.

Basically if you have online galleries that you want protected, don’t add them to your main gallery list or your site’s navigation. At Fotomerchant we call them “ghost” pages and only people you give the unique URL to will even know the page exists.

Also, make sure the pages are NOT listed in your sitmap.xml and that your robots.txt does not allow full site crawling and then Google will never know they exist either… Unless you post a link to the gallery somewhere public!

Obscurity is one of the only measures that requires human knowledge in order to crack it” — Derek Clapham, co-founder of FotoMerchant, in response to a private forum post I made about this situation this afternoon.

However, private, hidden, unsearchable galleries were on that list that we discovered. Just making it obscure wasn’t enough for them when they were determined. In some cases, “they were able to find these hidden pages due to the nature of their URL design. It was predictable and based on a number sequence”, said Derek.

5. Pull expired galleries offline. When possible, use FTP to make sure the images are completely removed. If you let the gallery expire and it is still online, the photographs are still stored on a server somewhere. Servers can be hacked, your files can be accessed. Remove them from the server completely when you are done with the gallery or album proof.

Once something goes online, it is never completely safe

Even if you do all of the things listed above, are your client’s photos still secure?


No, they are not.

Hidden, not listed, not linked, unsearchable galleries? ALL were in that post discovered today.

Once these people found the easy to target galleries, they pushed on to find the harder to discover ones. They figured out how to move up and down the gallery structure of the software. How to change the string text to get to a gallery. They kept looking. For almost two years they have been looking. Some in the thread mentioned “let me check my documents of the ones I’ve gotten in to” — so even if this thread disappears, there are others out there, and private files that people keep.

Photo Credit: ~Brenda-Starr~ via cc

Black Friday Sales for Photographers, 2013 Edition

Black Friday Sales for Photographers

Whoo hooo!!! It is that time again! Outside of the trade shows at Imaging USA and WPPI, the BEST sales for photographers are during the Black Friday Sales this weekend!

How it all works: Be sure to pay attention to the dates that sales are available. I’ll be updating this post as I add more sales, and it will go on from today (Tuesday, November 26th) for the next week (Tuesday, December 3rd). That means Cyber Monday sales will be included in this post too! One place. ALL THE SALES!!! I’ll update the time below with the latest time of the post update, so you know to look to see if anything has been added.

WIN AN iPAD MINI!!! At the very end of this post is all the details on how to WIN AN IPAD MINI!!! Be sure to scroll to the end for all the details!

PLEASE NOTE: I’ll be updating this post as I come across more deals, so be sure to check back later to see them all! The most recent update was at 9:47am CST on Cyber Monday, December 2nd. Best part? These stores won’t run out!

Business Coaching & Workshops

Vivid & Brave – Join Stephanie & I for our 2014 Group Coaching or One-to-One Coaching! Sign up for Group Coaching and take $75 off your first month or the total price! Our best price ever – see the site for all the details! Isn’t it time you were heard?
Code: Friday75 // Sale Dates: 11/26/13 – 11/29/13

WPPI Conference & ExpoWPPI 2014 – Speaking of WPPI, register now for WPPI and save money with Early Bird sale prices. Plus save an additional $20 on your WPPI 2014 Full Conference Pass!
Code: THANKS // Sale Dates: 11/29/13 – 12/2/13

Inspire Photo Retreats – Come see Stephanie & I speak about our Vivid & Brave mission! Register for Inspire 2014 between now and midnight at the end of the day on Cyber Monday, and you’ll be first in line to pick your limited seating classes! (AND if you already have your ticket, you’re included in priority registration for these workshops!)
Code: No Code Needed, Click Here to Register // Sale Dates: thru midnight Eastern time, 12/2/13

Team-X January 2014 Fight Club & Ski Trip – join Jeff Jochum for Fight Club, and a very special ski trip to the mountains! I’ve mentored at two Fight Clubs in the past year, in addition to attending the year before, and they are always incredible! Visit the link for all the details, and learn more more about Team-X here. Receive one month of free coaching if you register early, a $1200 value.
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: Early Bird Special good for the first 3 registrations before 12/31/13

Blog Elevated – from bloggers to business owners to CPAs and lawyers. We’ll be teaching about all aspects of blogging! Early Bird pricing for the 2014 blogging conference – save $60 if you get your ticket by January 18, 2014. Regularly $249, early bird tickets are $189.
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: Early Bird Registration 11/25/13 – 1/18/14

Boudie Shorts – Boudie Camp LIVE WORKSHOP (Wisconsin) – $200 OFF
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: 11/24/13 – 12/3/13

Business Marketing & SEO

Psychology for Photographers - Portfolio to Profit EngineFrom Portfolio To Profit Engine: How to Build an Absolutely Irresistible Photography Website – normally $159, will be $109 ($50 savings!) (View my review online here.)
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: Evening of 11/28/13 – 12/2/13

Irresistible Words – an amazing resource, I highly recommend it! Normally $249, will be $199 ($50 savings!) (View my review online here.)
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: Evening of 11/28/13 – 12/2/13

The Business Library Pack – Includes both Irresistible Photography Website and Irresistible Words is be $299 – a total savings of $109 off regular retail price for both items! (View my review online here.)
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: Evening of 11/28/13 – 12/2/13

Boudie Shorts Model Call ProgramBoudie Shorts – MODEL CALL – $50 OFF
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: 11/26/13 – 12/3/13

Boudie Shorts – Boudoir Marketing Packet – 50% OFF
Code: SEXYBF50 // Sale Dates: 11/24/13 – 12/3/13

Boudie Shorts – Boudoir Client Questionnaire – 50% OFF
Code: SEXYBF50 // Sale Dates: 11/24/13 – 12/3/13

Joy Vertz - Referral Plan That WorksReferral Plan that Works – How would your business change if your happy clients were effortlessly spreading the word about your business for you? Get this guide to setting up a referral plan that won’t cost you a fortune and will bring in new clients! On Sale $79 (Reg $129)
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: Thru 12/5/13

Photography SparkSEO Cookbook for Photographers. 23 easy recipes to rank higher – Regularly $99, on sale for $39! 100+ page ebook with 6 tools, 31 ingredients, 23 recipes, 10+ video recipes, and membership to Zach’s private SEO group.
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: 11/19/13 – 12/3/13

Simply Boudoir TemplatesSimply Boudoir For Photographers – Issuu magazine and other Photoshop Templates for Boudoir Photographers. Truly gorgeous! 25% Off!
Code: THANKFUL25 // Sale Dates: 11/27/13 – 11/30/13

Design Aglow SaleDesign Aglow has a sale now for both their Design Aglow Frame Shop AND Design Aglow Paper Shop! 15% off of Everything for 3 days only!
Code: thanks // Sale Dates: 11/27/13 – 11/29/13

My Photo Biz Coach: Rock Star 101 – 50% OFF
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: Thru 12/2/13

Supercharge Your Photography Website – a Free Ebook from the makers of the Photocrati WordPress Theme (On sale for 27% off!)
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: Not Applicable

Photographer’s SEO Community – 55% Off = $44.55/year
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates – Black Friday 11/29/13 to Cyber Monday 12/2/13

Worth More E-book & Worksheet by Angela Pointon – Stop Limiting Your Photography Business’s Success! Price is Pay-What-You-Wish. Normally $99, you can edit the shopping cart to be whatever price you want to pay. Pick up your copy now!
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: 11/27/13 – 12/3/13

Joy of Marketing – Sarah Petty – 50% off EVERYTHING in the Joy of Marketing Store!
Code: halfoff // Sale Dates: 11/29/13 – 12/2/13

Jared Bauman’s Pricing Course – Jared has spoken at WPPI and across the country about how to price your work for profit. Now you can get his online Pricing Course for 50% off!
Code: 2013blackfridaypricing // Sale Dates: 11/29/13 Black Friday

Business Forms & Templates

The Law Tog - Legal Resources for PhotographersThe Law Tog – 30% off of all products, including the fantastic Boudoir Bundle. Great contracts and other templates available!
Code: BlackFri30 // Sale Dates: Thanksgiving Day – 11/28/13 to 12/3/13

The following items are all from The Modern Tog — Go purchase her them from her AND Enter to Win a FREE iMac! All the details are on her site!

Moderntog - Photography Pricing GuidePhotographer’s Pricing Guide Workbook – Excel pricing workbook that does all the math for you and helps you adjust your prices to help make you profitable. On sale for $49 – $50 off!
Code: SMARTBUSINESS // Sale Dates: 11/28/13 – 12/2/13

Moderntog - Go To Guide for Client EmailsThe Go-To Guide for Client E-mails – Need help responding to emails when you’re in a sticky situation? These email templates will help, along with helping you avoid the situations in the first place. On sale for $49 – $50 off!
Code: SMARTBUSINESS // Sale Dates: 11/28/13 – 12/2/13

Moderntog Easy Client & Money ManagerThe Easy Client & Money Manager – an Excel workbook that helps make managing clients and business finances a breeze. Read my full review here. On sale for $49 – $50 off!
Code: SMARTBUSINESS // Sale Dates: 11/28/13 – 12/2/13

Moderntog Photography Pricing Guide + Easy Client & Money ManagerThe Easy Client & Money Manager + Pricing Guide Worksheet BUNDLE – Two great products, one amazing price! $50 off!
Code: SMARTBUSINESS // Sale Dates: 11/28/13 – 12/2/13

Easy Client Manager from The Modern TogThe Easy Client Manager – Client Management and Workflow workbook for your business. On sale for $19.97, regularly $59 (save 66%)
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: 11/28/13 – 12/2/13

Photographer's Questionnaire Library from The Modern TogPhotographer’s Questionnaire Library – Questionnaires to make portrait sessions go smoothly and gather all the information you need to be effective at a wedding. On sale for $19.97, regularly $49 (save 59%)
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: 11/28/13 – 12/2/13

Jared Bauman’s Email Templates – Jared is launching e-mail templates to help you with your business TODAY! At an amazing sale price of $49 – 66% off!
Code: 2013blackfridayemail // Sale Dates: 11/29/13 Black Friday

Posing Guides

Boudoir Business Boutique – Posing Guides and Guide to Lighting — all Boutique Items are 40% OFF! Read my review of the Posing Guides here.
Code: BlackFriday40 // Sale Dates: thru 12/3/13

Boudie Shorts – Boudoir Posing Guides – 50% OFF
CODE: SEXYBF50 // Sale Dates: 11/24/13 – 12/3/13

USB Drives & Memory Cards

PhotoFlashDrive (aka Pexagon) – one of my favorite products for my clients! You can see my USB Drives here. Still giving your clients DVDs? It is time to switch!

PhotoFlashDrive Coupon #1: BLACK FRIDAY ONLY – 30% off of your order & free standard shipping in US (not valid on previous orders)
Code: CSPFD647BF13 // Sale Date: Valid ONLY on FRIDAY, NOV 29 From 12:01 am to 11:59pm EDT

PhotoFlashDrive Coupon #2: Cyberweek Coupon – 25% off your order (not valid on previous orders)
Code: CSPFD378CM46 // Sale Dates: Monday 12/2/13 – Saturday 12/7/13

SanDisk Memory CardSanDisk Memory Cards – a number of cards are on sale at Amazon – pick up some new cards today!

Western Digital My BookWD My Passport Ultra 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 – on sale at Amazon – $69.99
WD My Book 3TB External Hard Drive Storage USB 3.0 – on sale at Amazon – $113.95

Camera Gear

Fuji X-E1 Camera & LensFuji X-E1 and 18-55mm Lens – Love this camera! I bought mine at WPPI for this same more than this sale price, and I use it all the time! Many of my Avenger of Sexiness travel photos and most of the food photos at Spoon & Knife are taken with this camera. Much lighter than traveling with a bulky dSLR!

Canon mkIIIIInstant Rebates on the Canon 5D mkIII, Canon 6D, and the Canon 7D. Kits with lenses have larger rebates. (Make sure you purchase cameras from Amazon only if you purchase on Amazon – if a deal seems too good to be true from another seller, it is!)

Borrow Lenses – You know how I feel about renting to try before you buy gear, right? Now is the perfect time then to get in on the Borrow Lenses rental deal! 15% off, visit the site to request your code!
Code: Request from Borrow Lenses // Sale Dates: 11/29/13 – 12/2/13

Software & Website Templates

Preveal Black Friday Sale

Preveal – Show your clients exactly what their images will look like on their wall with this amazing app, at a never before seen LOW LOW price for 12 hours! (I would set an alarm for this one.) From midnight – noon MST ONLY on Black Friday the Preveal app will be $25; after that it will be on sale for the rest of the weekend for $50. An amazing deal!
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: $25 for 12 hours only – midnight to noon MST on 11/29/13. $50 from noon MST 11/29/13 – 12/2/13.

Sticky Albums - Black Friday SaleStickyAlbums – I added these to my workflow a year ago, and they are awesome! You create an album using your photographs and your branding, and an icon for their iPhone that is their image, and they can view it on their iPhone, iPad, or Android device. A slick interface and a great way for them to be able to show off your work to their friends! Get $65 off Annual Membership at StickyAlbums! Good for renewing members as well!
Code: bestdealofyear // Sale Dates: 11/29/13 -12/2/13

StickyAlbums is giving away a $2000 lens! Visit their site for the details!

BlogStomp Discount CodeBlogStomp – Make preparing your photos for blog posts a snap! 30% Off, Black Friday & Cyber Monday!
Code: BLACKFRIDAY2013 // Sale Date: Black Friday 11/29/13 12:01am – 11:59pm EST
Code: cybermonday2013 // Sale Date: 12/2/2013

Fotomerchant – Get 50% off all Fotomerchant plans for one year. To get the special you have to sign up through the link and upgrade to a paid plan (discount included) by midnight Cyber Monday. What? You’ve never heard of Fotomerchant? Well that needs to change. The offer gorgeous websites PLUS a comprehensive suite of tools for running a creative business. Use one system for everything – your photography website templates, blogging, e-commerce tools for selling prints and digital products, social media marketing and more! (Plus they have fantastic Australian accents, and are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.) Purchase your Fotomerchant plan TODAY!
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: 11/29/13 – 12/2/13

Lightroom & Photoshop Creative Cloud – Special edition, special rate. $9.99 a month, a collection geared towards photographers – Lightroom and Photoshop only. This price was available before, but it required that you had CS3 or later; now it is open for all! Hurry, limited time offer!
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Valid: Thru 12/2/2013

Photocrati – 27% Off the Photocrati theme; $65 + a free copy of the Photographer’s SEO eBook – a great resource!
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates – Black Friday 11/29/13 to Cyber Monday 12/2/13

NextGEN Gallery – The most popular Gallery plugin for WordPress. 25% off – $29 a year.
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates – Black Friday 11/29/13 to Cyber Monday 12/2/13

Scene Scout – Awesome new iPhone App that is a premium mobile community tool created to help professional photographers and videographers scout locations, plan, and share their work. Check it out! Only 99 cents in the App store for Black Friday – Cyber Monday!
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: 11/29/13 – 12/2/13

Pixifi – Studio management, reports & more! 25% Off
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: 11/29/13 – 12/2/13

ShootProof – 65% off of 1 Year for the 1,500 Photo Plan and Unlimited Mobile Apps – only $35! *New Clients only
Code: No Code Needed // Sale Dates: 11/29/13 – 12/2/13

Presets & Actions

Photo Beauty Coach Courtney DaileyPhoto Beauty Coach- Courtney Dailey – 50% off entire shop, including Actions, Presets, Modeling Templates, Guides, and Skype Mentoring Sessions.
Code: HOLIDAYS // Sale Dates – Black Friday 11/29/13 to Cyber Monday 12/2/13 at midnight PST

Bag of Glass Lightroom PresetsScott Wyden Imagery – Gorgeous presets along with eBooks and other information. I can’t wait to try out Bag of Glass on some of my travel photos from this summer! 20% Off!
Code: THANKSGIVINGUKKAH // Sale Dates: 11/28/13 – 12/3/13

  • Jared Platt’s Online Store – Jared wasn’t kidding when he said you could experience post-production Nirvana with his presets. Probably the most used presets I own! 50% off of his ENTIRE store Black Friday thru Sunday!
    Code: CRANBERRY // Sale Valid: 11/29/13 – 12/1/13
  • Branding

    iPhone Cases by Tiny Prints Thanksgiving Day Sale: 50% Off iPhone Cases! I’m going to make the sparkle one with my logo on it!
    Code: IPHONE50 // Sale Date: Thanksgiving Day ONLY 11/28/13 – 12:01am to 11:50pm Pacific

    Tiny Prints 30% off all products
    Code: BF13 // Sale Date: When: November 29 at 12:01am PT through 11:59pm PT December 1, 2013


    Use the links below to join in with the giveaway to win a FREE iPad Mini! 16gb in white, this baby is all boxed up here at my house just waiting to head your way! Once you sign up for the Business of Awesome email list, you can also enter a number of other ways to win!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Know of a great deal that I should share here? Let me know!

    Thank you to Denver boudoir photographer friend Brooke Summer for sharing the several of these links with me!

    Purchasing any of these items? It would be swell if you used my links! Some of the companies provide me with a small commission, which helps make it possible to keep this site running. I was not paid to write this post, and all of the opinions within are my own.

    Black Friday Sales 2013 for Photographers - Business of Awesome

    Go With What You Love in a Name

    Business of Awesome - Helping Boudoir Photographers Build Awesome BusinessesBack when I first started this blog in 2011, it was living at Business of Awesome. But as I worked on plans for it behind the scenes, I knew I wanted to write about what I specialize in, which is boudoir photography. After many countless hours of debate, I moved the whole site over to Business of Boudoir.

    I was never happy with the change.

    I felt like saying “Business of Boudoir” out loud could potentially induce a coma-like state. It was SOOOOOOO boring. So not ME. It was similar to wearing a jacket where the lining of the sleeve is a bit twisted. It just doesn’t fit right. I annoys you. It makes you a little crazy.

    Once I get in to that state of funk, it becomes hard to write. I fight it. I don’t want to, all because I don’t like saying it out loud. (The story about the Princess & the Pea? It may have been all about me. Maybe.)

    Within a month of making the big move, I declared I was moving it all back. Which I did last night. I still have to make the final 301 redirect changes to the domain to finalize the move once I finish moving all the settings over, but by tonight it will all be back where it belongs.

    Business of AWESOME.

    Which fits my goal – to help you have the most awesome boudoir business possible. What we get to do is so amazing to me, so powerful in helping women see themselves to be the incredible people that they are. It is truly awesome, full of awe, full of inspiration.

    If you’re on the mailing list, I think I can migrate that without you having to resubscribe. If you’re not on the list, please sign up for it! You can also find us on Facebook. If you can help to spread the word, I’d truly appreciate it!