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Who Cares About Your Business

October marks the beginning of the holiday season with Halloween at the end of the month. Seasonal items are being shuffled around and soon Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah will be upon us.

Personally, I have been busy preparing for the cold weather and analyzing how to move forward into the new year. This got me thinking about many things; rescaling my marketing, updating my prices, expanding my services… you know, all the regular business stuff.

It also got me thinking about my customers... actually, the customers I don’t have. What can I do to help them find me? Then it hit me, if they did find me, why would they care? This month’s newsletter is about ways of connecting to customers in today’s age of information.

Recent posts

Is your website content designed to convert?

I have recently been doing some marketing research online and I have noticed a disturbing trend among small businesses -- Old, outdated and ineffective websites. If you have not done anything with your business website in the past year or two perhaps you are likely losing business because of it.

Here are my findings and some solutions.

Your website's content should have one goal, to convert a visitor into a customer. Recently I was shocked to see first hand how spectacularly a website can fail.

Here's the story...

5 qualities images need for online shopping

As online shopping grows, competition for new business gets harder. Customer loyalty is a thing of the past. People will shop for value and convenience above all else. Part of that convenience is good photography.

One of the problems with online retail is the loss of tactile interaction with the products you're looking to purchase. There is no picking up, weighing, testing and trying on a product to get a sense of quality, of fit or just to get that emotional feedback.

Online shoppers have to rely on the images retailers supply on their web sites to help them make their buying decisions. Frustratingly, many of these images fail to provide the needed information so customers can make an informed buying decision. The results is a loss of revenue to the seller, and what's worse is the seller may not even realize their images may be a major reason for the loss.
Sean Barger, CEO of Equilibrium, says there’s been a number of studies showing that people are more likely to buy a produ…

DIY Softbox Storage Hanger

If you own a softbox, or two, you understand how bulky and unwieldy they can be. Imagine owning several in different sizes. Storage becomes an issue. One solution is to break them down and store them flat, but that becomes a pain after the first few times struggling to put one of these things together. It is more convenient to just grab one "off the shelf" and go to work.

Allocating shelf space seems like such a waste of valuable storage space. In my case I have two square softboxes, three striplights and soon two more rectangular ones. That's a lot of real estate. Time to come up with a storage solution that doesn't require floor space or shelf space.

The solution I came up with is a compromise of an idea I originally had of hanging them from the ceiling on pulleys so they would be out of the way until needed. I still like that idea, but for now I will be suspending them from a wire rack shelf system in my studio. Here is what the system looks like.


Large DIY Diffusion Scrim

One of the most commonly used tools in my photographic arsenal is the all purpose diffusion screen. I use it to soften light, create gradients and light fields or as a background. One of my current favorites is a metal framed 4' x 4' foot scrim with thick white artificial silk made by Matthews. I didn't think I would use it so much, being so large, but having borrowed it from a friend I really came to love it. The downside for me is the price. At just over $100 I couldn't really justify the cost, considering I want at least two of them. Time for a DIY alternative.

The perfect product listing

I'm not old, but I am older. My generation did not grow up with internet and social media and ecommerce. I still prefer being able to see and handle and try on the product I am looking to purchase, but it's getting harder each year to do so. Brick and mortar stores do not carry the kind of variety an ecommerce store is capable of. They are also carrying fewer of the more obscure items than they used to simply because it is becoming too expensive to devote shelf space to an item that doesn't move fast enough. Who can blame them.

It's frustrating to someone like me who looks for the convenience of on demand shopping, and the tactile feedback, of actual live shopping. To add to the frustration, many of the online stores have dropped the ball and are working with outdated selling models. Let me explain.

Long standing frustration - woodlands

My first camera I ever owned was a Pentax K-1000. One of the best no nonsense film cameras ever produced that didn't kill your budget. I was a teenager then so money was tight. My favorite film to run through that camera was Kodak Tri-X black and white film that I developed myself in the bathroom sink. There was a great sense of accomplishment when that developed roll of film came off the spool to reveal all my hard won exposures. Then the long awaited anticipation as the film was sent out for printing.

That camera traveled with me on may hikes through the woods. A run off stream from the local reservoir ran along the property line of our back yard, providing a few miles of woodlands, a stream bed and plenty of solitude. It was my zen place. The world around me disappeared when I went into those woods.

It was always my goal, back in those early film days, to try to capture the magic I felt amidst the dappled light of the leaves and the slick wet stones of the stream. A goal that …