Saturday, March 28, 2009

What happened?

I was talking to an old friend yesterday, another great photographer complaining that he has not booked one wedding for this year yet. Seems like all the once great photographers are having a hard time lately... I had to assume the problem is with us. Not the economy, not all the weekend warriors... us. Did we get fat and lazy?

Weren't we the ones that with the cutting edge style? Famous for being Avant-garde?
Is it all our fault... have we become main stream?
The more I look at the struggling once great photographers the more I see boring work.

Guy's advice

I was listening to Guy Kawasaki's Reality Check today (yes listening to, an Audio Book in my car) and he discusses having a mantra instead of a mission statement. I like that.
Mission Statements are a joke, something corporations put together with a committee using meaningless feel good Oprahisms, only to be forgotten before the ink is dry.

Mantras, a simple 3 or 4 word phase summing up what the company (studio) is truly about.
Always loved mine "Soft, Warm & Natural".
It started as a description of my photography style and became the way I do business.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sales Advice

One of the advantages of doing executive portraits is picking the brains of CEO's, Mayors, and other successful people. Recently I had the opportunity of photographing the region's best known corporate sales trainer.

So I asked him, "If you could give someone the most important piece of sales advice, what would it be?".

He said "Ask a lot of questions, find out exactly what their expectations are".

I thought it was brilliant.

It's Only Windex!

It was finally warm enough today to take my car to the car wash. It really needed all that salt and winter dirt removed. I decided to just get the cheap exterior wash for $11, not my usual deluxe package for $30. Usually for the first wash of the year I get the $54 package and they shampoo the carpets, but that could wait until the snow was all gone, maybe in a week or two.

The inside of my windows needed to be cleaned so I offered to pay extra to have them use a little Windex. Nope, we don't do that with the Exterior Package the lady said. I offered again to pay extra, again she said No. Then I handed her my "Wash Club" card (10 washes and the 11th is free) and she stamped my 10th circle. It was obvious I was a regular customer, having spent over $300 in car washes. But I guess customer service was not this ladies strong point.

I am considering going to try out their competition, it's amazing how one stupid employee can cost you a regular customer.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Does Size Matter?

I have long wanted to change the name of 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10 to Small, Medium and Large. That way it would allow me to adjust the actual size to fit the image, for example a Small could be 3X5, 4X5 or 4X6.
I had a thought this morning; maybe instead of Small, Medium and Large it might be trendier to call them Tall, Grande and Venti. It works for Starbucks.

Monday, March 2, 2009

How Long Will Your Digital Files Last?

I was watching the news CBS show "Sunday Morning" and they had a segment about how audio tapes, videos, and digital files become lost over time.
Some degraded over time, some lost because of the changing technology making it impossible to find software or hardware to play the old (yet still in useable condition) files.

Here are a couple of things that surprised me.

The Library of Congress is scanning and archiving photos in what they have decided is the best and most common format for the longest and safest life, "Tiff".
Yes, Tiff. Not PSD, not Jpeg and not Adobe's DGN.

They also interviewed a digital archive expert who said that the life expectancy of hard drives is five years. He also said the the "low end" life expectancy of CD's and DVD's

is also about five years. The safest CD and DVD storage is in a cool dry place.

He also said that you should expect to recopy everything and resave it in whatever the current best system is at that time, every ten years.

- Makes me wonder if selling the image files might be a way moving the responsibility of archiving to the client.
- Makes me think we should never claim to store these images forever.
- Makes me wonder if we do sell image files that we make the client sign a document relieving us of any long term liability for the stability of the files.
- Makes me wonder if brides who just buy the images on CD will have nothing to show of their wedding by their 5th anniversary.

As always, lots of questions and no answers.