Will Photographers Still Like Facebook in 2015?

I’ve not seen a lot of publicity about the recent announcement by Facebook that it plans to make it really difficult for small businesses to reach their clients and prospects with marketing posts that aren’t paid advertising. A November 27, 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal stated that “as of mid-January, the social network will intensify its efforts to filter out unpaid promotional material in user news feeds that businesses have posted as status updates.”

I’m sure that clever entrepreneurs will find ways to work around this new restriction, but I suspect that this new move by Facebook might just force many photographers to come to grips with what smart marketers already know: It takes more than just social media to build a business that can achieve the kind of growth needed for financial stability to kick in. Yes, an Internet strategy is a very important slice of the marketing pie, but it’s only one slice. Financial stability that lasts over time is achieved only when the whole marketing pie is prepared, baked and served. This requires time, money and planning. Perhaps Facebook’s new policy will provide the incentive for photographers to leave the virtual world long enough to face this reality. You can read the entire WSJ article at this link.


My All-Time Favorite "What the Duck"

Every year when we approach the busiest portrait season of the year, I think about my favorite “What The Duck” animation that is shown below. Every photographer who has ever photographed a holy terror child will love this one.

Photoshop guru Scott Kelby calls What the Duck comic strip "hands-down, my absolute favorite cartoon on the planet. Period. It is the one strip that makes me laugh out loud every time."

"What" is the creation of artist Aaron Johnson who writes about and draws a struggling professional photographer who happens to be a duck. I've become addicted to What's very familiar situations. There are lots of fun things to look at on the WTD site. When you click on the homepage, check out the merchandise (cute), then go to the strip archives to see lots of great episodes, such as the one below.

You can view the wonderful web-based cartoon strip series called "What the Duck" at whattheduck.net.

Framing Start-up Kit to Debut at Boston Area Workshop - November 3-4

One of my biggest concerns about today's industry is that too many photographers are allowing images to leave the studio without being framed simply because they are not offering this service. This practice not only leaves money on the table for photographers, it also means that their images are either unlikely to be framed properly, or they will end up stuck in a closet or a drawer.

To make things easier for those who wish to offer quality framing to their clients, yesterday Jim and I took a trip to B&S Framing in Williamsport, PA, to finalize a Framing Starter Kit for photographers. I will have a sample of the kit with me at my Get Down to Business Workshop in Woburn, MA on November 3 and 4.

Jim and I have done business with B&S for as long as I can remember. It is a second-generation family business, which is now operated by Mike Corter and his wife, Jodi. Bill McGarvey, Jodi’s dad, bought the business in 1962, so the company has a long history of serving photographers.

Operating as a "chop service," B&S stocks hundreds of molding strips on site, allowing studios to purchase frames and mats on an as-needed basis in any designated size.


Simply call or email your specifications, then B&S takes it from there; your frames are mitered and joined and shipped within 3 working days. Mats cut to size, as well as glass and a foam core backing also are available, and if you wish, B&S will insert the backing with flexible points, so that all you have to do is to bend down the points to remove the backing, insert your photograph with the backing, and push the points into place.

Mike Corter was very helpful in identifying some of the company’s most popular frames, and together we chose 18 moldings for the starter kit.


Using a chop service has important managerial advantages:
• Your cash flow is not tied up in sample frames, some of which inevitably go out of style.
• You don't waste valuable storage space on sample frames.
• Not only do your sales increase, you are assured that your work will be displayed in the homes of your clients, which helps to increase awareness of your business.
You can view the entire line of B&S frames, mats, and multi-opening products by logging on to http://bsframes.com.

If you have questions about B&S and/or wish to order a starter kit, contact Mike, or Jody, shown below, or any member of their customer service staff at 800-327-7961.


About the B&S Framing Starter Kit
The $25 kit includes 18 sample corners and a full-color catalog. The $25 fee will be credited to your first order. For an additional $10, you can orders set of mat corners in a compact counter display that includes every mat-board color offered by B&S, the fee of which also will be credited to your first order.


B&S and ProSelect
If you are a ProSelect user, you can add digital files of B&S frames to ProSelect, which allows you to project your images inside any B&S frame in the exact sizes you wish to sell.
The combination of B&S frame corners and ProSelect’s many projection features provide an incredibly powerful sales tool that allows you to dramatically increase your bottom line.


In My Own Backyard . . . continued


The weather was great last weekend, so I found two hours to head out on a road close to my house that I’ve passed for years; it is off my beaten path, so I’ve never turned onto it. My new Lumix 45-200 zoom lens for the GH4 camera (effectively 90mm - 400mm) had arrived, and I was very eager to try it out, as its light weight, small size, and amazing price seemed almost too good to be true. I particularly wanted to see how the lens performed off tripod. Wow, was I amazed! It was a sunny day, so I had the luxury of shooting some of the images at 1/1000 sec. at between 200 and 400 ISO. The lowest shutter speed I used was 1/200 sec. At that speed I had to pay close attention to holding still, but even fully extended, the images where sharp as could be. There’s no way I could hand-hold a 400mm DSLR lens, and I’m not about to haul one around! My hands are small, so ergonomically, the GH4 is a dream come true, and it fits my husband’s much larger hands very comfortably. The photo above is the fully extended lens in my hand. When it is not racked out, it measures only 5 inches. I did a quick Fundy Blog Collage from last weekend’s short session, using a border that differs from my last post.

I’ll be heading for Ireland shortly with three lenses and the camera body in a small bag that has plenty of room for personal items as well, so packing will be a lot easier. It will be interesting to see how I get along with the new lighter gear during long days of shooting and hauling a tripod. Can’t wait!


Right in My Own Back Yard

Today I had one of those “ah-hah!” moments that served as a reminder that every now and then all of us need to explore the world just outside our doorsteps.

I recently purchased a Lumix GH4 camera and several lenses, and I’m eager to give them a good workout while Jim and I are in Ireland on our annual fall vacation. I’ve read the manual and played with the camera at home, but I wanted to do some quick test shots to make sure I am totally comfortable with the new gear. So on Sunday, Jim and I spent two hours driving within a 10-mile radius of our home and studio to make some test images using my 14-140mm zoom and the 7-14mm lens.

Although I have lived in Annville ever since I graduated from college and got married, we took some side roads I had never explored. Soon I was less focused on the equipment and far more interested in the scenic vignettes of a soft summer afternoon in the country. Interestingly, the first image I processed was a panorama of a farm that I pass every time I make a trip on the Interstate. I had never stopped to take a good look at the gently rolling fields that surround the century-old farmstead. It looks so much like the farms portrayed in Currier and Ives prints that I want to come back again and explore it from different angles and focal lengths.


I hadn’t planned on finishing the other images, as I merely needed to verify that the camera was indeed recording what I had intended. It took only a few minutes to know that it had exceeded my expectations in the image-quality department, and I was especially impressed by its versatility and ease of operation. Last evening I took a second look at the images and decided to finish a few more. Before I knew it, I had completed around 30 that were really fun to do. That’s when the “ah-hah!” moment hit me: Just outside my doorstep are delightful images to be made, and the only reason I made them was task-related. What else am I missing? I won’t know until I start allowing myself to get out of the office.

So I have a plan: I’m setting some “tasks” for me as a photographer, not a business owner: The first is to test the Lumix 45-200mm / F4.0-5.6 / zoom as soon as it arrives. Next, I plan to spend a day close to home once the fall leaves appear. When I get back from Ireland, I’ll also do some camera room tests, as I have a concept for a new pet portraiture product.

Lebanon County Collage_Lt.1
Finishing the images above also gave me an opportunity to try out the Blog Collage module of Fundy Designer Software. I bought the software to use for album/book construction, but I’m so glad I added the Blog module, as it is a really great time saver. This makes me even more eager to start on a book. Now that I’m resolved to spend more time in my own backyard, perhaps I’ll create a book of images that I record there. A good lesson learned.

P.S. I’ll have information on both the Lumix system and Fundy software at my November 3-4 Workshop in Woburn, MA.