Vehicle wrap design: what it looks like and what you get

If you're starting to look for someone to design a commercial wrap for your business vehicles, you may be wondering what the whole process looks like and what you'll end up with.

Here you can see an example of what one of our clients sees submitted for approval before we print it, schedule the job, and eventually wrap your commercial vehicle with printed graphics.

Interested in getting a commercial vehicle wrapped with graphics that you already have? Whether you already have your assets organized, have a big mess of assets, or need us to help you come up with assets for a brand new brand, we can help.

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Sensory hallway wrap design for PS 50 in Staten Island --- aquatic theme

It's always nice to be able to do something for the kids; this is one of those things that allows you to flex creative freedom (kids have the best taste in art) and feel like you're doing something positive in the world all at once.

Here are some images of the project we just recently completed at PS 50 in Staten Island. It's a sensory hallway with various games and art pieces fully covering every inch of a long hallway in the school. All art was done using an aquatic / underwater theme.

Thanks, as always for checking out our work. We love being able to provide our local Staten Island community (and beyond) with our artwork, and we're able to do it because of you!

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Having your own designer vs. using the in-house shop designer; Why every business should have their own designer in between b2b shop interactions

We work with clients of all different forms all the time. Many of them come from this channel specifically, so i wanted to take some time to talk about why I think it's essential to have your own designer and not be using the designer that is hired at your shop.

To be clear, what I mean by a shop designer is the graphic designer employed by the shop you're doing business with. This could be a print shop, an embroidery shop, a vinyl and wrapping shop, etc. It could extend so far as to include design services offered by platforms like Printful, VistaPrint, etc.

Your designer is on your site, not theirs.

Your business likely isn't one well-versed in the world of printing and design. most aren't. That's why freelance designers and graphic design agencies exist. What most people don't fully understand is the difference between these and the designer your local print shop might have working there.

The designer at your shop is on their staff. That is someone who likely wears multiple hats, is always going to be on their side, and will likely make recommendations to you based on what is most profitable or easiest to execute for the business they work for. There's nothing wrong with having loyalty to an employer and I'm not blaming them for being this way and acting in this fashion when dealing with clients of their shop, but when i am getting something manufactured or otherwise fabricated by my local printshop, this is not what i am looking for in my designer.

Put your graphic designer in the middle of dealing with the shops

Whether they are going to be formatting your logo for print, helping you edit your document, or fully creating a new file for you, it;s generally better for you to do that with your own designer and then inject them into the situation so that they can make sure things are being done to your standards, not your shop's.

The skill gap

Graphic designers hired by local print shops are often not graphic designers at all. They are someone who was looking for an entry-level, decently paying job and found that through their searches. When you deal with a graphic design firm or freelancer, that person or brand's entire identity and success is based on the quality of their designs and client interactions. When you are in the design phase of your project, prior to print, 10 times out of 10 you are going to have a better outcome dealing first with your designer to then have them deal with the print shop, get them over the files they need, etc.

Your shop designer's specialty is taking those creative files and getting them formatted to their job. If you're doing a sign, for example, they can take your design, make sure it is to scale, and best format it for the printer they are using and the medium by which they'll be fabricating and installing the signage you're having made.

You shouldn't, for example, ask the sign shop to come up with branding if you are starting out.

Sorry if I am rambling a bit here. Just trying to get all the ideas out.

It doesn't cost you anything to use your own designer

Here's where it gets crazy. It literally costs you nothing or less than nothing to use your own designer.

Every shop that you'll ever deal with (if they know what they're doing) is going to charge you a design fee for using their design services instead of sending them a finished file. By having your files ready to go to simply be handed off, yu're not paying that. You're saving money by using your own designer and having a better experience; it's a gross AND net-positive for you and your business in dealing with b2b shops.

As an example, say your sign shop is going to charge you $1200 for the design portion of getting your signage created. You can often find a good graphic designer locally who is talented and will charge you somewhere between 40-100 an hour. If the sign design takes them 1-2 hours, you're looking at 80-200 bucks. It's that simple and the time they're spending is much more transparent.

Then from there, you forward the shop info and have your designer get in touch and get them what they need. It's a more professional workflow and costs you less. It's crazy that anyone does things the other way. It's pure laziness that would have someone settle for an in-house designer at a print shop instead of having their own designer. That's like having a court-appointed lawyer instead of your own. You can draw all the same similarities.

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Should your company have a monthly content plan?

As a local business owner, it's essential to have a solid online presence to attract and retain customers. Maintaining a strong online presence is consistently posting high-quality content, such as photos and videos, on your business's social media accounts and website.

A monthly content plan can help ensure a steady stream of engaging and relevant content to share with your audience, helping you keep your business top-of-mind with potential customers and encourage them to interact with your brand.

Photos and videos are particularly effective types of content for local businesses. High-quality visuals can help showcase your products or services and provide an inside look at your company. They can also help to humanize your brand and make it more relatable to your audience.

In addition to the visual appeal, photos and videos can also help to increase engagement on your social media posts. Posts with visuals receive more likes, comments, and shares than those without. This can help you find greater reach and visibility, driving more traffic to your business at the end of the day. So if you want to your local business online effectively, it's crucial to have a monthly content plan to share engaging and relevant photos and videos regularly. This can help to strengthen your online presence and drive more traffic and sales to your business.

Everyone is posting, but not everyone is posting the good s***.

The importance of Reels on IG

Reels aren't that new at this point, but to define them - IG reels are a feature on Instagram, allowing users to create 15-60 second, mobile-formatted posts that appear on your timeline and also get sucked into the IG Reels algorithm, which tends to have greater reach (at least at the time of this writing) than typical posts to the timeline.

They have quickly become popular for users to share creative and engaging content. They have also proven to be effective for companies interested in promotiing their products and services.

One of the main benefits of using reels for businesses is their potential for increased visibility and reach. Reels are featured prominently on Instagram's Explore page, which means that they have the potential to be seen by a wider audience than traditional posts. It's a benefit especially for smaller businesses looking to increase their reach and visibility on the platform.

In addition to the potential for increased visibility, reels can also help to increase engagement with your audience. They provide a fun and creative way for businesses to showcase their products or services and can help to humanize your brand and make it more relatable to your audience. This can lead to increased likes, comments, and shares, which can ultimately help to drive more traffic to your business.

Another advantage of reels is that they can help showcase your business's personality and culture. They provide an opportunity to show the behind-the-scenes of your business and give your audience a glimpse into what makes your business unique. This can help to build a stronger connection with your audience and foster a sense of community.

Overall, reels can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to promote their products and services on social media. They offer the potential for increased visibility and engagement and can help to showcase your business's personality and culture. If you're not already using reels as part of your social media strategy, it's worth considering them.

Tailor yourself a monthly, affordable content plan with content creators in NYC.

Are you a business owner in Staten Island, Brooklyn, or New Jersey looking to improve your online presence and attract more customers? Your search stops here. We can create high-fidelity photo and video content for you to bank on a monthly basis for use in things like reels, posts, for your website, in print, and anywhere else that you can benefit from quality imagery.

Having a strong brand presence online is paramount in today's digital age, and regularly posting engaging and relevant content is vital. Photos and videos are particularly effective types of content, as they can showcase your products or services and provide an inside look at your business.

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When is it time to start scaling your business?

There's a mysterious middle-part between being a freelancer and being a legitimate creative agency. That is what I intend to figure out in the year of 2023. TomdeStudio and it's sub-companies are going to experience a major metamorphosis, and we invite you to follow along as we open the process up to our readers.

We intend to extend our teams for Graphic Design, Web Development, Web Design, Printing, and many more. If you know anyone who may be a good fit, please feel free to have them reach out to us, as we will be looking for many talented and learning people to work with us on a freelance basis. We believe that is is possible for everyone to succeed, and hope to see you at the end of 2023 a new Tomde Studio!

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Align tool is not aligning to center in premiere pro

I just had this problem and was not able to find the answer anywhere online before figuring it out myself, so here ya go.

Premiere pro is not aligning to center properly, making centered graphic elements (like my text here) look like the pic below when hitting the align tools to bring it to "center" horizontally and vertically.

All I did was start using the position settings under "FX Motion" instead of the align tools, and it cleared this weird bug.

Maybe this was a weird bug in Premiere. It certainly is not uncommon to have something weird happen to you when using this program, but I figured if I had this issue, I might be able to help someone out who has a similar one.

If you want more tutorial-style content like this, let me know! Thinking of doing more of it to help out the community where I can as I'm doing a lot of learning at the moment myself.

Thanks for reading,


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When is it time to hire people? From freelancer to bogged-down-lancer and how to get out of the hole

Someone once told me, "you need great partners in every business," but it's hard to let other people start working on things for your client when you started out as a freelancer and love doing all the things you do (and are a bit of a control freak).

But it's something I am starting to feel is necessary as time goes on. I have a kid now, and that's a real wake up call. It is something that showed me I need to be able to source more of my work to a good team of reliable creatives. It's not just to free up your time. That's great, but what happens if you get injured or otherwise can't get out there to shoot or can't spend the same time on the computer? Everything stops? No.

When is it time to start expanding the team? It's a hard thing to figure out. When are you comfortable enough to take a step back financially in order to take a way bigger leap forward, being able to take more work than ever before when you have a great team behind you? That's something you have to answer on your own based on a ton of different variables. That's what makes it such a tough nut to crack.

Who do you know?

Everyone says it now: "it's impossible to find good people." I don't think that's really the case. I know a ton of good people. What is really stopping me from taking the leap? Financial security getting less secure while I start paying more people for the work I can't handle, that's what. That's why I'm here in the process of journaling through my blog and figuring it out.

Chances are if you're in the creative scene in your city, a few people come to mind that can help you. They definitely do for me.

I'm making a commitment here and now to start sourcing more work for good people and letting myself and my clients and reap the long-term benefits of a team of me with incredible bandwidth.

Guess this is another one of those blogs I'll have to check back in later to solve for you with the way it worked out for me. But know that you're not alone if you are feeling the same way - overwhelmed...

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In The Stu: Ep. 2: How does a baby change the workflow?

How does having a baby enter the workflow? We're about to find out. My son is going to be born this week and I'm going to be journaling as it pertains to the business, edits that have to be made, hires, delegating, sleep schedule, and whatever else may come.

Update: It's been a couple of weeks now, and I gotta say, doing this without a partner would be a real challenge. Shout out to my wife for holding down the fort while im out shooting, doing my editing work, graphic design, web design, or whatever else it might be.

It's alot, and the first few months are hectic with a baby. It's alot of adjustment. The good thing, though, is that it's generally been good adjustments. Less wasted time and using the time I do have to really focus on what is the best use of that time. Gone are the days of that all-over-the-place type of schedule working out. But i feel this is what people need to really bring them to the next level, show them they need more than just themselves, and really bring their career to the next level.

I'm excited for what's to come, and will be trying to blog about it it and get this blog active throughout the process.


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What should you charge for your photography?

I get this question all the time. Relatively new photographers or existing photographers who are new to a particular type of photography (like weddings) ask what they should charge for a wedding, for an engagement shoot, etc.

For those looking for a quick answer on what I think, scroll down to the bottom of the post, but for the best results, read everything I have to say on the topic!!

Though I do always help the younger shooters when I can, it's hard for me to give a straight answer to that. It is probably a bit frustrating when I tell people they have to put the value on themselves, and it's not something someone else can assign to them, but it's the truth. It's useless to tell you what I charge for a day in any vertical because every photographer and every artist, in general, is different. Not saying I'm better or worse than anyone, just different.

Going to keep this short and to the point, but I have a lot to say on this topic since it's one that so many people are asking about and probably Googling all the time like I was in the beginning before I started to grasp my value and what I want to make me happy.

*side note: we're using photography and photographers as the topic and terms here, but this works for videographers and many other artists who wonder how to price themselves.

How to assign yourself the value and know what to charge as a photographer

You're different from every other photographer. You might be there at the same moment, in the exact location, shooting from the same spot with the same kit, but you'll get a different photo from the next guy, right? You probably think yours is better, maybe you don't. That's the starting point to understanding your value, but the art itself, believe it or not, is only part of the value of a photographer.

Think about it hourly.

My best advice to anyone who asks how much they should be charging as a professional content creator is to think about their time hourly. There's a reason that most full-time, "normal" jobs will pay you this way. It's just the easiest way to think about it.

Why do some wedding photographers get paid ten thousand for the day and some get paid five hundred?

There is a complex formula that is a lot more than just the art. You might know a wedding photographer who is doing extremely well financially and whose work you feel is just ok - it's not bad, but it's not anything extraordinary.

That usually means you're capable of doing the same work, so why are you not commanding the same rate?

Let's say that person is a wedding photographer. Are you a wedding photographer or a general photographer who does weddings also? Usually, those people you see at the top of their given vertical of photographer, whether headshots, weddings, or anything else, are leaning 100% into that vertical. When you look at their Instagram, website, or whatever, that's all you see. That's all they do. Or at least, that's all that brand of theirs does.

Not every photographer wants to box themselves into one form of photography because they like doing them all. There's nothing wrong with that at all, but you need to break off into different brands which all have unique identities if you want to appear to be laser-focused, which generally is what clients want to see. Start a wedding brand, an event brand, a studio photo brand, etc. If you know what you're doing with Photoshop a little bit, you can easily make yourself a little logo for each and put up a web-based portfolio for each.

Who knows you? Do you have a fan base? A client base?

The quality of your art will not bring people to knock on your studio door. A lot of local photographers have been doing their thing locally for a long time by the time you get into the game. That's the nature of business, and their clients are loyal to them. That's the way it should be.

Their price is often a function of their business, which has been increasing slowly over time since they started doing their art professionally. That's why, alot of times, even though you might not think their work is amazing to you, they are busy and have a ton of people working with them. The clients are never going to notice quite as much of the "flaws" with another person's photos or videos. They like that person because they are consistent, reliable, and quick on the edits. That is rarer than you might think. You need to focus on those things if you're a great artist and you don't feel like you're busy enough. Being unorganized tends to be a downfall of many great artists, which limits their business potential. Get someone on your team who can help you organize yourself if you don't feel like you can be organized yourself. Most of us can't. It's the whole "left brain right brain," thing, and it happens to be true, at least for me.

How to know when you haven't charged enough

That's one of the few questions here that is easy for me to answer for you.

Are you ever working on a project that you just aren't feeling at all, even though by ever metric its what you've always wanted to be working on? That's usually a big red flag to tell you that you aren't charging enough. you feel that to be dealing with what you're dealing with on that particular project, the money wasn't worth the time you're spending. If you want my advice, suffer through and get it done to the best of your ability, hand off something to them that they love, and raise your prices for the next person. It's honestly not a bad problem to have if this is where you're at.

So, what should you charge?

You should charge what you're worth, and you have to figure that out for yourself, sorry! That's part of becoming a great artist is learning your value. You'll thank me later when you're forced to think about it yourself and you start to know your own worth.

I was the same way, asking everyone what they're charging. It can help you get some market data, but it's not a fool proof way of pricing yourself and your work. That's like asking someone what settings they're using in their camera - it rarely helps you actually compose a better photo and it kinda makes everyone who overhears it think you're an amateur.

Just so I can give you an answer that you came here looking for

If you're just starting out, do work for free! If there's a local store that you'd love to shoot some content for, buy something there and then talk to the owner. It's rare, in my experience, that they're not willing to do a free shoot to help get them new content and to help you get some of your own work out there in your locale. That's pretty much what I did with Richmond Hood Co in Staten Island when I was just starting out, and it led to what is still some of my favorite photos to this day that I've taken and some great experiences.

If you want to know a bit more about how I wold calculate what to charge for a day rate, half day, and so on...

When you're just starting out, a day rate of 400 and a half day rate of 250 is usually a pretty sweet spot for clients who are local, looking to hire you for an event, and so-on. That's just my experience and roughly what I was charging when I was just starting out and not working for free.

When you get super busy at those rates or you start to feel like you're unhappy because you're not paying yourself enough, then just up your prices slow and steady until you get to where you feel better and more comfortable. There is no limit to how far you can go and how much you can charge once you're in demand. The sweet spot will make itself apparent to you the more you deal with people, price jobs, and come down here and there to make it work. There are enough clients out there for every photo and video person who wants to work doing content. Never be afraid to start high and see what happens! You can always come down in price if it seems to not be working.

As time goes on, an easy way to figure out what you should charge for content captures like photos and video is to think of it hourly. There is a reason many employers do it this way. If you want to make 50 dollars an hour, for example, you know that an 8-hour shoot should be roughly $400. As time goes on, raise your price.

In summary, you can do it! Pricing is not that hard. I can tell you what I charge, what you should charge, etc, but the best way to get more comfortable with pricing, in my opinion, is to make all the mistakes yourself and learn your value slowly over time. That is the way, to me, that it stays the most solid in your mind. If your price is lower than someone is willing to offer you to work for a day, congrats, the higher price is your new price!

I hope that this has helped someone out there learn to price themselves better. It's one of the hardest parts of doing business, but when you get that invoice paid, it's all worth it!


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Why I think the Herman Miller Aeron is the best office chair.

My wife happens to have hooked me up over the years with several of the "best" chairs on the market in terms of office chairs. I have currently in rotation a Herman Miller Aeron Chair as well as a Herman Miller Embody Chair and a Knoll chair with this bendy back. Not sure what the Knoll is called specifically but it doesn't really matter for the purposes of this little blog post.


I have 2 desk setups in the current studio and one in the 2nd studio. I rotate between the 2 Herman Miller chairs in the main and thought there was pretty much no difference. I was wrong.

My body had been hurting over the past week or so and i've been doing stretching and all kinds of other activities and what I call "free style yoga," to relieve the pain. Nothing was working. Then i thought, what has been different about my routine that my lower back would be killing me.

I have been sitting mainly in the Embody chair...

Granted, I sit at the computer daily more than most people, I'm sure. I regularly log 12-hour days (with standing breaks) in order to get everything done on a daily basis as i try to grow Tomde Studio, expand the team, bring in bigger clients, etc. I have no problem doing this, but I do need to be comfortable while doing it!!!

Anyway, if you're looking to pick any office chair in the world, pick the Herman Miller Aeron. It has supreme ergonomics and cradles your butt in a way that is honestly hard to explain. It's kind of like a trampoline or a suspension bridge.

You can get them from third parties for a reasonable price and I can assure you that your lower back will thank you. Hopefully this helps someone else who is dealing with lower back pains from their desk job like i was. The Aeron is straight magic, and i can attest to the fact that all Herman Millers are not created equal. There's a reason the Herman Miller is a legendary chair.

Nothing against Herman Miller at all. I respect and hold Herman Miller himself in high regard as a designer and as a brand. There are only a few brands out there designing office furniture that is truly notable from a design and ergonomics standpoint, and they're up there at the top, in my humble opinion.

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