Meet Peter and Fran Howlett
One of the most important unsolicited emails I ever opened was from Peter Howlett, shown above with his wife Fran. Back in 2002, I was searching everywhere for a digital solution for preview presentation. My lab had just announced that they would no longer produce "transproofs," which had been our most essential selling tool, almost since the day we opened. Other labs were doing the same, so we faced a studio crisis.
Early in our photographic career my husband Jim began to fiddle around with Kodak 5072 film, which he used to copy frames of 6x7 film using a 100 watt light bulb, a copy stand, a black box, and a piece of opal glass, then developing the resulting slides by hand in our darkroom. Projecting our images made wall portraits literally sell themselves. We became evangelists on the speaking circuit, trying to convince wary photographers that this was the way to go. It took a while for labs to catch on, but finally they began to offer transpoofs or transviews, and we retired our home-made setup. We certainly didn't want to get it out again, and we COULDN'T do without the vital tool that allowed us to send our kids to college, feed all the pets, and finance a vacation home.
I reviewed several programs, but nothing really clicked until I received an interesting email from a company called TimeExposure, located literally on the other side of the world. I downloaded a trial version of the software, read the "Quick Start" pdf, and I was thrilled! Pretty soon I was on the phone with Peter, because I wanted to understand his development plans to make sure this wasn't a "hobby project." Indeed it wasn't, and ProSelect has been all I had hoped for and more. Early on I introduced digital guru Ron Nichols to ProSelect when he was looking for something to replace ProShots. Ron and Peter go along famously, and soon they were collaborating on projects and sharing a trade show booth.
I now use ProSelect for everything from browsing and selecting my images, selling them to clients, and outputting the selected images to the lab or to my printer. It has become a total workflow solution, and recently SuccessWare linked their software to ProSelect's ordering system, so that client orders placed during the ProSelect sales sessions can flow right into SuccessWare. This represents a HUGE step forward in facilitating studio workflow. If you want to learn how to import orders from ProSelect to SuccessWare, click here to view a SuccessWare "How To" screen movie on the subject.
It's been wonderful getting to know Peter and Fran at PPA events. They are a delightful couple, and so pleased that American photographers have embraced their software and are using it to make their businesses more profitable. Last February Fran attended my Guerrilla Management Workshop in Fredericksburg, VA, where she was kind enough to give the class an evening tutorial on ProSelect. Those of us who consider ourselves veteran ProSelect users learned a lot about exciting features we had overlooked. I plan to mention some of them in future blog entries.
So I wanted you to meet Peter and Fran. Their company, Time Exposure, is based in Perth, Western Australia. Geographically, Perth is almost exactly on the opposite side of the world to Jacksonville, Florida and consequently it's time zone is 12 hours ahead of New York time, which made it fairly easy for me to communicate with Pete, when I was learning about ProSelect. Fortunately, he is an early riser, and I work late. His 7 A.M. is my 7 P.M.
From the beginning, Peter and Fran have worked on ProSelect together. His background is in electronic engineering specializing in software development, and Fran is a master photographer and a former national board member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers. Fran made the switch to digital in early 2002 with the purchase of a Canon 1D body and soon involved Peter as her technical support person. This involvement in the changing world of digital photography led Peter and Fran to start to design and develop the award winning products now used by thousands of professional digital photographers around the world. Photographers everywhere owe them a debt of gratitude for making projection an industry norm and a profitability standard.