Posts Tagged ‘hasselblad


How I blew my annual bonus!

So, anyone that knows me realises that I am a total gear head.  No nothing to do with gear boxes on cars, whatever current technological pursuit I am engaged in, I have to have the latest, most expensive, shiniest bit of kit available.  So, when I got my annual bonus at the end of March, I knew it was going to get spent in  a fairly rapid way, rather like pulling the plug out of the bath.

So what was I going to spend it on: camera, lenses, lights, computers, peripheries or a holiday?  Well the holiday would be nice, but fleeting, and I can’t really take a break from getting my photography business up and running just yet. On the camera front, there were some temptations – the Canon EOS-1Dx fits the bill of being shiny, new and expensive, but I don’t really need a dSLR that takes HD video (yet), and as a studio camera, my old 1Ds mk3 knocks the 1Dx into a top hat.  Of course, if my bonus had been really good, I could have invested in a Hasselblad H system camera, oh yeah, baby come and meet my 50MP beauty, but my bonus wasn’t that big.

So maybe a new lens.  Folks who know me from HK will recall that there was hardly a month went by without me investing some money in some glass; and, yes, I have been sorely tempted to buy the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L fisheye – but, its not a lens I would use very much, and, so, there had to be better things to spend my dish on.

“Let there be light”, surely a new lighting system would be useful, practical and fun.  Oh, yes, I would love to upgrade my Visatec lighting kit to some Profotos, or Broncolors.  At the end of the day, though, new lights weren’t going to make my job easier, or my sales better.

In the end, the one thing that bugs me is the amount of time I spend on touching up photos.  So the answer was to get a powerful computer that will suck the files out of my computer, a good monitor which will make sure the colours are just right, and something better to use in photoshop than a mouse.

So this is what I bought:-


So what do we have here?  Well, the desk and chair come from Ikea, and I am not sure which was worse; shopping at Ikea (yes, the store opens on Sunday at 10am, but you can’t actually buy anything until 11am!), or assembling the things.

The heart of my system is a refurbished Mac-Pro 2.4Ghz 8-core Intel Xeon, which is gorgeous, and its fast. Comparing this to my iMac is really hare and tortoise stuff.  To view the images, I went for an Eizo ColorEdge 24″ monitor.  Apart from the built in calibration and the fact it can be rotated 90 degrees to work on portrait photos, I just love this.  But, the real treasure in all this was the Wacom Intuos tablet I bought.  I went for the A4 size, and its great.  There is a bit of a learning curve, finding out what you do with one finger, two, three and four fingers, but the learning is quick, and when it comes to photo editing, you just have so much more control.  This is something I should have bought years ago.  If you edit photos, and you don’t have one, believe me go and get one right now!


Sales Bootcamp

So, last Friday, I took a day off work, to go up to London to attend a sales and marketing workshop being run by James Derbyshire of Julio Boggio Studios at the Hasselblad Studio.

First the studio, is great.  There is about 2,000 square feet of space, and the main studio area is two storeys high, dominated by a huge, 15 foot high infinity cove.  It’s good to hear that the studio is fully booked for the next few weeks, and the sessions are as varied as gravy granules one day and six or seven models the next.  I arrived at the studio before it was open so I went and had a cup of coffee close-by at the Barrel Cafe.  This is a real gem; its run by really friendly people, has free wi-fi, and although i didn’t try any, the pastries looked divine.

Anyway, back to the boot camp, we covered a lot of ground.  I filled pages and pages of my note book.  A few things stood out; firstly, imagine your perfect customer.  For instance, for a family portrait studio, maybe the perfect customer may looks like this:- the family drives 2 cars ( a Lexus and a BMW), both children attend private schools, they live in a good size house (to display those lovely portraits you are going to sell them, fitted with a burglar alarm.  The wife likes to get her hair done at a hair saloon each month, and goes to a spa every other month.  The family are members of a gym, and eat out in restaurants every other week.  From this little description, I have just created a list of businesses to target for promotions and cross-marketing.

So you have marketted your business, and the phone starts ringing.  People are wanting to come to your studio.  The next stage is setting the scene that these people are going to be parting with a serious ammount of money.  So you have to treat them right, find out about their expectations, tell them how to get the most from their session, tell them how special this event is going to be, after all having a family portrait session is not the same as going to the hairdressers.  Next is the photo session and taking the photos that they are going to want to buy.  In your own mind you already have the ideal package you are going to want your family to buy; maybe its a nice large family portrait to go on the wall, and a triple portrait of the children – a nice £1,200 sale.  If thats the case, there is no point in only photgraphing head shots of individual members of the family, make sure you have a family group.  If its a triple of the two children, make sure you have a photograph of one child looking to the left, one to the right, and one of both of them looking at the camera.  Julia, the main photographer at her studio, gives her other photographer a shot list of 10 photos, which then leaves them some time to get creative.  This was an insight to me, because, although I have a mental shot list for my babies, I have nothing written down, and occassionally, I do forget to get a particular photo, and kick myself afterwards.

One of the other issues discussed at the workshop was whether to sell the image files or not.  I was of the firm belief, never to sell the image files – I make my money by selling framed portraits, why would I sell my raw material?  Would you go to a greengrocer and buy a tomato plant; no, you buy the tomatoes.  However, another school of thought was proposed, and that was to sell the image files, of course, you don’t call them computer files, you call them something amazing, like,photo-electronic portraits (the idea put forward at the workshop was ‘digital negatives’), these would be fully retouchedd files ready to print at almost any size.  They would be presented in a style that reflected their cost, and would be priced to reflect their value.  The pricing suggested was 10 digital negatives for £1200 (i.e. £1,000 plus sales tax).  That little idea certainly got me thinking.  I have started to introduce it into my sales pitch, but have had no takers, yet.

There was a whole host of other ideas, pitched into the tour de forcxe of the boot camp, a lot of which are jotted down in my note book, and I will look back on when I get the chance.  Also, at the work shop were representatives of Hasselblad, who had some very nice cameras there, Broncolour with some lights, Lightblue, who have a studio management software application, Bob’s Books who produce albums, photobooks and other printed matter.  The food provided at lunch was very nice as well.  All in all, a very useful day, as well as being enjoyable.