Saturday, November 4, 2006

PhotoPlus - A decided success

PhotoPlus expo is in it's final throws. With just under an hour to go, the credit card machines are churning out their last sales, the sales people have finally gotten a handle on the NY sales tax versus their own state's tax rate, and the final presenters are on stage at Canon, Nikon, Adobe, Lexar, and a few of the other stages.

My experience surpassed my expectations. With more than double the expected book sales, my publisher is certainly happy.

There is a comma and two digits past it which means I really found so much I wanted that I had to do a cost-benefits analysis so as to best apply my limited resources.

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Friday, November 3, 2006

PhotoPLUS Day 2 - Wrapup

Did I forget to mention the crazy PDN and PhotoShelter parties last night? Perhaps, but better to discuss them with tonight's PDN (reprised) and Digital Railroad/et al parties this evening? It seems that the lines were longer than expected for those scantily-clad women (and overly stylish men) who expected to hop from their cabs into the indoors, and were shivering outside teeth-a-chattering.

Upon departure from the PDN party, the folks I was walking with as we ambled back towards Javits, upon seeing a stretch limousine said "awww John, you didn't have to!" Looking around and seeing zero cabs, I placed myself within the proximity of the driver, and, lo and behold, he was asking us where we wanted to go. I told him the Puck Bldg, and he quoted a fair price, especially since we would have had to hire two cabs for us to fit. Two Jacksons later, we were outside of the Puck Bldg stepping out in style. I think our driver was in a bit of trouble though, as I know that it's dubious at best to act as a taxi, and the two phone calls from whomever was no doubt his paying client who emerged from dinner to head to their show resulted in audible vocals from his phone that indicated they were not happy.

I know that a number of folks who found themselves chained to their desks with their 9-5 obligation will be on hand Saturday for the wrapup of the expo's activities. Come early, and prepare for elbow-deep attendees. This Washington DC Photographer will again be on hand signing books in the Thomson booth #769 from 2-3, and I look forward to expanding upon the comments from other professionals about the best business practices for photographers.

I remain looking for the really cool things that you'll be interested in, and when I find the last few nuggets, I'll post some deets and links.

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PhotoPLUS Expo Day 2 - Software insights

Day two of the show isn't quite over yet, and I still have more to see, but there are two applications that are remarkable. Seefile, and LightZone.

Seefile is a great application that allows you, on your own computer in your studio, to maintain images for client review, remotely. It facilitates your clients' ability to provide feedback and interaction between stakeholders in disparate locales from one central review area, without the need for hosting of gigabytes of data remotely.

LightZone is the wunderchild of Adobe's HDR and some late night guru who knows advanced masking features. Clearly, the genius behind LightZone, Founder and CEO, Fabio Riccardi, saw the limits of HDR and how it could be used both globally and selectively to improve otherwise poor/prosaic images into amazing photographs. In a brief demo, Riccardi showed how the wedding photographer who battles white dresses and black tuxedos can benefit, as well as the architectural photographer who must fight the ambient outdoor light as well as the interior light to make great final perspectives that actually can exceed what the eye can actually see. Plus, they ship v2.0 before Thanksgiving, and if you buy within the next week at the $149 price for v1.6, you can get a free upgrade to 2.0, which will otherwise sell for $249. So, hurry over to their site and place your order sooner rather than later.

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Thursday, November 2, 2006

PhotoPlus Expo - Day 1 - Chock Full O' Innovation

Day 1 of the show was more than any one person can honestly take in. I mean, really. If you're here for just one day, you're missing out. I'll share with you some cool information and links, but understand that I will spend the remainder of days 2 and 3 trying to get a handle on just what's available.

I enjoy methodically starting at one corner and going through the rows one at a time, collectiing literature, and doing everything I can to not get bogged down in talking to booth staffers on my first pass. I save that for passes two and three, where I can get into the details of the products and services. Yet, I still found myself talking to some of the more interesting people.

Of course, I found myself stopping to talk to the folks at iView MediaPro
  iView MediaPro 3 (Win/Mac) who talked about the evolution of the product, and how the commitment of Microsoft means that the product (and thus, those pitted against them
  Apple Aperture 1.5 - Photographer's Workstation and Adobe Lightroom ) will benefit from healthy competition and financial commitments all around.

Next stop was something I had, at previous shows, walked past without a consideration. Yet a recent article in a magazine with illustrations of it's capabilities meant they were high on my list of companies to see, DxO Optics. The superior ability to re-shape distorted images made by wide-angle lenses is reason enough to seriously consider the product.  Sure, they do their own RAW conversions, and color handling, but it's that image correction that is the "must buy" feature!

Onwards to Kevin Kubota's image enhancement tools -- where Kevin, for some silly reason has himself depicted in a Superman-like cartoon. Yet, his tools are by no means childs play. His Digital Raw Workflow and Production Tools Vol One actions are top notch. Stop by his booth to watch him, sans cape, demo his actions.

The only reason I stopped at the Rololight booth was it was so damn bright I couldn't see without tripping down the aisle. So, I let my eyes adjust, and learned about how compact and efficient the light is. Further, it's called rololight because you roll it up and travel with it.  If you're wondering why someone cut a hole in the wall on the north side of the building and let the sun stream in (hey, wait, there really can't  be northern-sourced light, can there?) it's really just the rololight booth. Check them out on site, or online if you're not able to make the show!

One of the things that frustrates me about some of the online fulfillment services is that once they have your customers email address, the are inundated with up-selling emails. I just don't want that  to happen any more with mine, so I went to learn more from the folks at DigiLabs, who, I have been told by several high level wedding photographers, don't do that to your clients. So, take a minute to consider them for your print needs. I may find myself transitioning to them sooner rather than later.

Something that cannot go without making a note of, is the display by the folks at Woven Art. I can't say why I think this otherwise really corny thing is actually cool, but it just is. Something about a huge woven blanket made from your photo -- and I mean woven, not painted on -- is just really a sight to behold. While I can't think of a single client of mine that would ever accept a blanket of a photo of theirs, I honestly am looking to find the client-type that would dig this product and give me a reason to order one. I know these folks are out there. Somewhere.

And I can't close this post without a somewhat disappointing insight. I had heard that Asuka Books was partherning with Aperture, and I was so excited. yet, a conversation with Asuka's business partnership person in the booth says that there's nothing there. How sad. Perhaps that's just a diversionary tactic, but I didn't get that vibe.

More in the morning. More rows to travel, more things to see!

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PhotoPlus Expo - Off to a Great Start

As PhotoPlus kicked off this morning, a swell of attendees waited for the clock to tick 10:00 and the two slightly less than friendly security guards to allow the masses in. However, those that got the Gold Expo Pass could bypass the delay, and get in an hour early, which meant no lines at the booths you wanted to see. If you're a Nikon or Canon user, and wanted to avoid the four-deep bodies waiting to handle the gear, you were in luck!

Stopping by the Hensel booth to talk to Mark and Marc revealed some amazing new products in both the portable/battery models as well as the "plug in the wall" models, with faster recycle times and flash durations, than their previously already superior products. Check out Hensel USA for more.

I've planted myself at the APA booth from 12-2 today where they're selling the books (and I'm signing them) so swing on by!

After I leave there, I will trek out to see the latest products (and services) that are out there to make our lives easier and more efficient. More later....

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PhotoShelter announcement - Good for what ails you

Photoshelter couldn't contain themselves, and, moments after midnight announced a new relationship with what to many is the industry standard in software pricing -- FotoQuote. Photographers who own it swear by the pricing structure, and those that don't quickly learn how it pays for itself in one or two uses.  You can read the release to find out more, I won't cut-and-paste here, but suffice to say it's an amazing announcement, and I look forward to learning more in their booth. I can saw that this Washington DC Photographer (yeah, that's me) swears by FotoQuote as a basis, and then evolves the pricing to suit my needs more precisely.

If you're at the show (or coming over for lunch) I will be at the APA booth at noon, but prior to that I plan on checking out two morning seminars that are on the business and marketing tracks, and will report back. The first is There's always room at the top -- how to get there and stay there, which I will catch the tail end of after the ASMP seminar by Judy Hermann and Vic Perlman of ASMP, Business Practices for the Digital Age.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2006

PhotoPlus Eve!

It's like the eve of the gifting season. Whether Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holiday celebrations that are full of anticipation of surprise gifts, tommorrow hold that promise, but it's better! You know what you want, will be surprised by several new offerrings, but, moreover, will be only limited in your acqusitions by what your bank account (or line of credit) can bear!

I've just left the Picturehouse networking gathering, which is an amazing collection of photo agencies all under one roof, where you can go to meet folks. I was there in an official capacity representing the White House News Photographers Association, and can honestly say that if one of your responsibilities includes licensing work from photographers, you should visit your nearest Picturehouse gathering. If you're looking for photos, of say, King Tut, you will find yourself probably licensing images from Kenneth Garrett, and he's there in person! It truly is the opportunity to connect, in person, with those who you usually only speak to over the phone. Garrett licences all his images through a Digital Railroad who was there with what looked like six tables, all to showcase member work, of which Garrett was one, NBC Universal, Redux and others were there as well under the DRR umbrella.

On the "take control of your own destiny" front (detailed in my
Best Business Practices for Photographers book), where I talk about solutions such as
Digital Railroad, IPNStock, and PhotoShelter, I am hearing rumors of a big announcement from the folks at PS come day 1 of the show, Thursday. You can expect that I will make the time to learn what they are doing that could make charting your own course an even better way to avoid the big agencies who want more and more from you yet are paying less and less. On that, Digital Railroad outlines there latest e-commerce capabilities on their site here: DRR e-commerce.

It's off to the PDN Press Preview, where they will be sharing work from Dirk Halstead (alonside whom I made pictures when he was covering the White House for Time), Frans Lanting, and Joel Meyerowitz, then a break to catch a comedy show. I ascribe to the scientific findings that comedy is very good for your health, and there are numerous google articles on just that.

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