Leid lodge sits adjacent to the estate of J. Sterling Morton, Secretary of Agriculture in the administration of President Grover Cleveland. Morton is celebrated as the founder of Arbor Day, the tree planter's' holiday. Widely respected as an agriculturalist, He was devoted to spreading the word about modern techniques of farming and forestry. Morton’s expansive estate allowed him to indulge his fascination with planting trees, especially rare varieties and heirloom apple trees. The 260-acre property, known today as Arbor Day Farm, is maintained as a State and National Historic Landmark. Among its activities are scenic trails that Mark, his daughter, Kelly, and I enjoyed on Sunday before setting up for the workshop.
Thanks to Jason Deyo, president of Professional Photographers of Nebraska, and Karen Meinders, executive director of Professional Photographers of Iowa, for their support of the workshop. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching in both states before, so I knew to expect a great group of dedicated professionals and really fun people. I was not disappointed! Their questions, comments and active participation in the class were a joy for me and just the kind of encouragement I need to keep at the mission of helping photographers embrace the business side of photography.
In the coming months I will be looking for partners to help make possible a series of brand-new business workshops to debut in 2016. In addition to developing new workshop content, I plan to continue work on some new educational resources for marketing and managing photography. I’m also looking forward to teaching a one-day management class in my home state for members of Professional Photographers of Pennsylvania on October 11. It will be followed on October 12 by a full-day marketing class to be taught by my colleague Ronnie Owings, who runs one of the most successful studios in the country. I’m most eager to learn from Ronnie! For more information about these two classes, click on this link.
Best wishes for a very happy summer!
Next stop . . . Nebraska City, Nebraska!
I was very happy that Mark Weber could join me as well. He was able to answer so many specific marketing questions because of his work with so many different types of studios.
My next stop is Charlotte, NC, on May 1-2, when the workshop will be held as a pre-convention class at the Southeastern PPA “Flash” May conference. It’s going to be a great convention, so take a look at this link.
IBack In Texas!
It’s no secret that I like to teach at least one workshop a year in Texas, and I try to schedule it when the weather is cold and snowy in Pennsylvania. This week I truly lucked out . . . When I left home it was minus two degrees. In spite of the rain on Monday, on Tuesday it was a sunny 55 degrees in San Antonio. Best of all was having a class full of fun people, which is always the case in Texas, and they really dug into the workshop contents. I was lucky also to have Mark Weber, director of Marathon’s Marketing Advantage Program (MAP), available to support the class and to answer marketing questions before, after and during class breaks. No one is better at sharing marketing wisdom than Mark, and I truly appreciate his help!
After class, Mark and I had the pleasure of taking a short ride with MAP Members Hayward and Shannon Gaude to visit the couple’s retail studio, which they moved into over a year ago. Located in Old Town Helotes, the studio is nestled among several other boutique businesses. In addition to having plenty of attractive display and shooting space indoors, the business also features numerous rustic outdoor settings that are perfect for photography. Mark used my new iPhone to create several panoramics of the property.
I’ve always said that Mark can do more with an iPhone than most photographers can accomplish with a load of expensive gear. Here’s one of his images that I “borrowed” to try out a with several Topaz filters. I like this one best. Thanks Mark!
My next workshop stop is Orange Country, California on April 13-14. Don’t miss the $50-off early registration deadline of March 31!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.