Archive for the ‘Building the Business’ Category

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It is here and it is beautiful…

April 3, 2010

For weeks now, I like many others have waited for April 3rd, 2010.  On this day the UPS man comes down from on high to deliver the latest gadget from Heaven (okay… Cupertino is nice, but maybe not heavenly).  Today Apple delivers the iPad.  Now I’ve been a gadget-guy my entire life.  I love being an early adopter even when it means dealing with version 1.0 “challenges” (I’ve been trained never to say “problems” from my consulting peers) just so I’m able to have the latest and greatest from the gadget world.  Well, today is no different.  An hour or so ago I received my first, of many (more later), iPad.

My iPad

The iPad is an fascinating device and I’m interested to see how the technology world at large will accept this device.  At an entry point of $499, it’s not a no-brainer decision for most.  Of course it depends on your need.  As a photographer, I see this as a must have piece of technology.  Why?  I get to show my work on a beautiful, portable device, to anyone that wants to look.  Remember, everyone we meet is a potential client.  When I’m sitting in a Starbucks with the iPad drinking a Grande Latte waiting for my son’s preschool to let out and someone asks me about the device, I’m going to show them my photography.  When reading a book on the train to visit a client in Philadelphia and someone asks to see the device, I’m going to show them my photography.  In fact, whenever I have the iPad with me and I have the opportunity to show it to someone, I’m going to show them my photography.  I know this works as I’ve been doing it with my iPhone for years.  In Aperture (or iPhoto) I can rate my images.  My portfolio pieces are the only images that get a five star rating.  When I sync my iPhone (now iPad) to my computer, it syncs all my five star images.  I now have an album of all my portfolio pieces.  I can’t tell you how handy this is while teaching a class or meeting a perspective client.  I know that it has intrigued people enough that I’ve gotten new business from it.  Now, I have a screen that blows the iPhone’s screen away (in size anyway).  I’m really excited to start showing the iPad (i.e. my photography) off to anyone that asks.

Sure, there are a number of other reason this device will change my work-life.  I do a great deal of technology consulting and this device is a fantastic way to keep in touch with email, log on to client computers remotely, browse the web, etc.  For my photography business, this will be a part of my higher end wedding package.  I’m going to include a custom engraved (assuming Apple starts doing this) iPad with some of my wedding packages loaded with all of the proofs and final images selected by the bride and groom.  Talk about a high-tech wedding album!  There are some other things I’m working on too, but you’ll have to wait for that.

Well, back to my iPad.  I haven’t had much time to play with many of the features yet so it’s going to be a fun day.  Let me know your thoughts about the iPad or any other technology that is making a difference in your photography in the comments section.

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It’s not the camera…

June 15, 2009

Sorry for the lack of communication, but I’ve been working on changes to the main site.  I’m keeping the look and feel right now, but adding sections for wedding photography.  Stay tuned for the site updates later this week.

In the meantime I wanted to discuss a new little addiction I have – iPhone photography.  Since getting the iPhone, I’ve used the device for everything from phone calls to showing my photo gallery.  I love it, but would I use it over my big, beautiful Nikon with a giant, high-speed lens for photography?  Ummm, yes!

Having a pro-level DSLR camera is fantastic, but it’s not always practical to carry everywhere.  After some nudging from some photo-friends, I started using my iPhone for more and more photography – mostly snapshots.  Now, I’m addicted!  Since the iPhone is always with me, I’m shooting with it all the time.  Snap, snap, snap!  I use it to remember prices of products to shooting the kids doing something unexpected.

What I really enjoy is making the iPhone snaps look different from my standard images.  In steps the application Camera Bag.  This app allows me to take a picture on the iPhone and save it using various presets.  I’ve been using the Instant setting which makes my photos reminiscent of Polaroid snaps.  Neat stuff and it’s always with me!

Flying home

Home Improvement

Shopping

Jen

So remember, it’s not the camera that makes the photographer…

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Catching up…

May 15, 2009

Well, a month between posts is not what I had in mind for this blog, but it’s been a pretty busy month.  I’ve done a few commercial jobs, shot a wedding with a friend and moved into a new house.  I’d say it has been busy!

Settling in to the new place has been exciting.  We’ve moved to Skippack, PA, a nice little artsy town with many small shops and restaurants.  Skippack also has the propensity to draw large crowds to stroll its streets during the many festivals it hosts throughout the year.  Surprisingly, there’s only one photographer in town with a shop on the main walk.  Perhaps the town could stand another… 🙂

The more weddings I shoot the more I like them.  Sure, it’s really hard work, but there’s something about the atmosphere – nervous energy and excitement.  I have another one or two this month (waiting for confirmation on the second) and I’m looking forward to them.  I’m very much a people person and if you get a fun group for the wedding, the day is a real joy.

[EDIT: Wow, did I post the wrong picture!  Not sure what happened, but the image I posted did NOT look like I expected – completely my fault!  I’m replacing with two of my favorites from that day.]

First Dance

Daddy's little girl...

I’ve done a significant amount of printing over the last month both in house and outsourced.  I’m still extremely impressed with the color and quality my Epson 3800 provides.  It’s just a dream printer for the type of printing I’m doing.  The problem came in when I needed to print multiple size prints.  I use QImage to print.  This software arranges multiple size images on paper in a way that optimally uses the print media.  The prints look great, but my paper cutter destroyed the prints.  Ughhhh.  After a little research I found that the best paper cutters are made by Rotatrim and they’re not cheap! 🙂  Now what?

With a bad paper cutter and a short delivery time on the prints, I went to a new online friend – White House Custom Color.  WHCC prints everything from proofs to books to posters all at reasonable prices and with fantastic results.  After a quick couple of test prints (they deliver second day mail!) I was able to reprint my entire order, package in a beautiful box and receive in just two days.  I was really impressed and, best of all, so was my client.  From now on, WHCC gets my printing business.  I still love my 3800, but for multiple size orders this is going to save a lot of time and money.

On a technical note, I recently converted my Mac Book Pro to dual boot with Windows 7.  “Dual booting” allows me to choose which operating system my Mac Book uses upon start up – Mac OS X or Windows 7.  For those of you that aren’t familiar, Windows 7 is the next version of the Microsoft Windows operating system after Vista.  Microsoft has provided a pre-release copy on their website for free download.  You’re able to use this “release candidate” until July 2010.  Be warned!!! After the expiration of the release candidate you need to reinstall Windows 7.  There is no upgrade from this to the released version.

Suffice it to say, I’m LOVING the dual boot option.  While I’ve totally mostly converted to OS X, there are still some tasks with which I need Windows.  While my experience with VMWare Fusion for running Windows virtually has been nothing but positive, sometimes you need all the horsepower a real machine provides.  I’m really exited that my Mac hardware supports Windows 7 extremely well.  If you find yourself a Mac user with a need to run Windows from time-to-time I really like the Boot Camp option for a true Windows environment.

Lastly, I’m working on better defining my communication.  Currently, I have one Facebook and Twitter profile.  I’m going to divide this into a person profile and a photography profile.  I’ll provide more information via Twitter and my Facebook fan page as soon as the changes are complete…

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Now accepting orders…

December 11, 2008

Ahhhh.  It wasn’t as simple as I initially thought and still needs some shine, but I’m happy to say the Online Ordering portion of my website is complete.  Here, you’ll be able to view and purchase fine art prints and other photography merchandise and review and order prints from client-proofs.  Credit cards are being accepted through a PayPal account as they offer very good service charges to the merchant.  This is the piece that needs some polish as there’s a separate link to pay for the order after the order is accepted through the store.  I receive an email with the order details and fulfill the order.

This last piece is very important to me.  I’ve sold online prints before.  In these instances, a third-party accepted the order, created the print(s), accepted payment and handled all customer support.  Basically, a one-stop shop for the merchant.  My problem with this is I never get to see the final print.  To me, printing is an art form of its own.  From correctly calibrating your work flow through the final printing process, this isn’t easy stuff and I’ve spent MANY hours learning how to get great results.  To me, if I can’t see the final print, I can’t guarantee the product.  I want all my images to look amazing.  While I’m sure these online processors do a great job, I want to see it before it goes out.

Take a look at the store and let me know what you think.  I’d love any and all feedback!

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Keeping busy…

December 1, 2008

Wow… What an incredibly busy few days.  First, I hope everyone had a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving.  I spent the day with family and had a great dinner prepared by my mother.  There’s nothing better than Mom’s Thanksgiving spread.

Black Friday started of early with some daybreak photography shopping.  Yeah, I was one of the nutcases that got up at an un-Godly hour to go shopping.  There’s a first time for everything and that was my first Black Friday morning.  We’ll see about next year.  I did get a lot of my shopping done.

Later Friday, I had a big photo shoot at a good friend’s house.  She was having family in for Thanksgiving and they stayed until Friday.  There were 20+ people to photograph in large and small groups, individuals, etc.  This was an amazing family, full of life, laughter and music.  Throughout the day someone would start playing keyboard while another person sang.  What an amazing background to the photography.  It was a fantastic opportunity and the photos came out great.  I’ll post an example once I get them to my friend.

In industry news, Nikon has introduced the D3x.  Initially leaked in Nikon’s own pro magazine a few days previous, Nikon made it official this evening.  The D3x sports the same design as the D3, but with a 24.5 megapixel sensor, CMOS, FX frame (full-frame) sensor and an ISO range of 100 – 1600 with push to 6400.  Unlike the D3’s focus on low-light performance, this appears to be strictly a megapixel-buster and the first time that Nikon bests Canon’s top megapixel numbers.  The D3X will sell in December with an estimated price of $8,000. More info here.

While I like the fact that Nikon finally has a high-end camera with serious megapixels (until now they’ve never had anything close to Canon’s megapixel monsters), this isn’t a camera on my radar.  At 12.5 megapixels my D300 has plenty enough for the enlargements and type of work I’m doing.  The serious megapixels are for more commerical photographers – specifically stock and serious nature/landscape folks.  I’m looking at the D700 for it’s amazing low-light performance and compatibility with accessories for my D300.  That’s the next camera for me.

On another note, the website is coming along really well.  I have the fine-art sales portion ready to go live sometime this week.  I’m excited about being able to sell directly through my site instead of needing other sites (ie stock sites).  It’s a great opportunity to get my work out there.

This week I have a few photo shoots scheduled – a child shoot and mother and daughters.  I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and getting some great shots.  Photos from some of these shoots will be posted soon.  I want to make sure my clients get to see them first.

Stay tuned!

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A big step forward…

November 2, 2008

It’s been a good few days since the last update so I wanted to give you a quick update.  First, the interview with Derrick Story at Inside Aperture went extremely well.  Derrick is a first-class guy and extremely knowledgeable about all things photography.  His blog and podcast, Inside Aperture, plus his other podcast The Digital Story are very good sources of photography information.  It sounds like my interview with him will be in this Tuesday’s Inside Aperture podcast.  Have a listen and let me know what you think.

I finally made a big step in the advancement of Robert Trueman Photography.  After much thought, I chose a provider for the new website, paid my initial start up fees and I’m ready to start building the site.  I explored a number of providers for flash-based photography sites – Into The Darkroom, PhotoBiz, Big Folio, and Livebooks among others.  All looked really good, with easy-to-use Flash-based templates to quickly build professional looking websites for photographers.  For me, PhotoBiz offered exactly what I’m looking for – easy-to-use templates, good looking templates and an ordering system I can tied to either a pro lab or print on my own.  Currently, they’re having a 50% off start up fees offer that I used.  I chose the flash website and client ordering site.  This will allow me to display and sell my fine art photography and have a place for clients to see, select and order the proofs from a shoot.  Ultimately, I can split the site into multiple sites each for a photographic style.  There’s a lot to learn here, but I’m hoping to have something up and running by the end of the week.

Lastly, I need to step it up when it comes to portraits.  I’m very critical of photography and know what I like when I see it.  Today, I had the opportunity to photography my girlfriend’s nephew, Christopher, an adorable 5 month old.  The shoot went well.  With really young kids, you have to focus fast as they move quickly and without warning.  While I was pleased with the digital negatives I shot, I was really blown away by the final processed images.  I’ll let them speak for themselves, but I like what I see.  As always, feel free to comment!

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In NYC – at last…

October 23, 2008

I’m in NYC for the yearly PhotoPlus Expo (formerly Photo East).  This event is the largest photo show in the country that caters to both the end users and manufacturers.  There are hundred of vendors/manufacturers to visits, products to see and people to meet.  This is my third year and something I’ve looked forward to since my last trip.  If you get the chance, go.  It’s worth it.

Tomorrow, the first day of the show, I’m meeting with Derrick Story of Inside Aperture.  It’s a great website/podcast talking about all things Aperture.  There are many folks that post so you get all kinds of input.  I’m excited to be interviewed about my experience with my transition to Aperture from my previous work flow.  I’ll post more after the interview tomorrow.

A quick note, I received a cold call to do some head shots for a young man, Will, performing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.  This isn’t the TV show, but one of the amateur nights.  Pretty cool, though!  I went to his parents house and took a number of shots before running up to NYC.  I’m looking forward to the prints and working with him again.

Also, I finally got some cards printed.  It took me forever, but I wanted to have something to hand to folks while I’m at the show.  Of course, I waited to the last minute and ran to Kinkos to get them made.  Admittedly, they’re not the best, but I’m excited to get them done.  I’m sure I’ll meet someone at the show doing great looking card and I’ll be back at the drawing board before I know it.

For now, I need to sleep.  It’s going to be a long day.  Hey, if there’s something you want me to check, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to post about it.  Goodnight!