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I publish a (roughly) monthly newsletter with e-commerce, small business and food industry related articles, tips & tricks and other news from a photographer's perspective.
2018-10-01T16:55:00.350-04:00Is 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recently been doing some marketing research online and I have noticed a disturbing trend among small businesses -- Old, outdated and ineffective websites.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...Read More »
2018-08-10T02:10:49.346-04:005 qualities images need for online shopping
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 product if they can see the details—the front, the back and close-ups—especially for items that are detail-oriented, such a jewelry and electronics. - practicalecommerce.comHere are the top five most requested elements of product photography many online shoppers look for.
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2017-12-22T20:21:01.122-05:00DIY Softbox Storage HangerIf 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.
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2017-10-28T18:40:36.458-04:00Large DIY Diffusion Scrim
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2017-12-24T14:40:07.904-05:00The perfect product listing
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.
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2017-10-02T14:57:16.082-04:00Long standing frustration - woodlands
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 always seemed out of reach.
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2017-09-22T18:31:37.747-04:00Great American Jeep Rally 2017Great American Jeep Rally (GAJR) in Ellington, CT. This fundraising event draws hundreds of Jeep enthusiasts from as far as New Jersey as well as vendors and spectators. This year is also the first year this event has been extended to two days, a testament to this event's popularity.
I became involved with the GAJR through my association with ECOJOCS, a local jeep club I am a member of. Our club supports the fundraising endeavors by providing volunteers to work the event. Three years ago it started out as providing help with the event's parking and our involvement has expanded to designing and installing an obstacle course, providing spotters on the rock pile and assisting with setup and breakdown of the event. Many our members have gone beyond the call of duty in helping this event be the success it is.
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2017-09-14T18:01:22.061-04:00DIY Tilt Shift dSLR camera conversion
InspirationI originally saw this configuration being used by the amazing Alex Koloskov in several of his product photography videos. I was immediately intrigued and amazed at its capabilities. While it seemed like a lot of trouble and expense for a tilt shift lens, specially since there are dSLR TS lenses available, I knew, from experience, this setup had a far superior advantage over the standard TS lenses.
The other plus side was that I could still use it as a large format film camera should I choose to.
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2017-12-24T15:15:22.807-05:00Artist interview - Miss Julian GreySelection from "Looking Glass"Over the past several decades photography has undergone a massive transformation. Where once it took a certain level of skill and discipline, today's digital camera revolution has created an ubiquitous social tool where skill has been stripped away to allow the contrived vitriol of the masses, clamoring for attention, to create a deep cesspool of visual noise. Harsh, but that is the reality of today.
To rise above this heap of useless imagery, a photographer looking to present themselves as worthy of attention needs to really swim against the current with more guts and gusto than ever before. Miss Julian Grey is such a photographer.
I became aware of Miss Julian, a transgendered, biologically male person who refers to herself as she, through the photography on the net forum a little less than a year ago. I was instantly mesmerized and awed by the images she was posting in the forum. They had a raw quality, at first reminiscent of Robert Mapplethorpe, but with a wholly unique look that has truly become her signature. Her subject... herself.
Selection from "X"These are by no means the typical self deprecating, duck lipped selfies littering the social media landscape. Not by a long shot. They are a blend of artistic nudes and character explorations with all the subtleties of an experienced portrait photographer. What really caught me was the courage to expose herself (literally and figuratively) to the camera, baring body and soul for all to judge and reflect upon. They are intriguing, emotional, suggestive and, at times, brutally honest that it is hard to believe these are all done by herself. As a photographer it is difficult to pull such a range of emotion from a subject. It is more impressive to realize she pulled this off from the lens end of the camera. An impressive feat in itself.
I would like to urge you, dear reader, to pause at this moment and take a look through Miss Julian's online portfolio. Her site, xgender.net, contains several galleries divided into themes as her style evolved. It is worth a look.
Since becoming more serious in my photographic path a decade ago I have been searching for some topic strong enough to capture my interest enough to create a long term project. I am still searching. That is why when I see the seeming ease Miss Julian show both as photographer and subject I am more than a little jealous. I long for an impassioned challenge. One that would make the viewer feel something. Maybe it'll come, maybe not. In the meantime I will continue my search and hope that some of Miss Julian's passion and courage will inspire me. I hope that by sharing this her work will inspire you as well.
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2017-07-21T12:55:44.548-04:00The Decisive Moment - a brief discussionBehind the Gare Saint-Lazare, 1932
“Making a photograph means recognising, all at once and in a fraction of a second, an event and the exact organisation of the visually perceived forms that express and signify that event. It means aligning the head, the eye and the heart along the same line of sight. It’s a way of living.”Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) is credited for the expression, the decisive moment. The image at right, Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, has become one of the most iconic of his images to represent that expression because it succinctly captures, in a single frame, the whole of his teachings. While there have been many discussions both casual and scholarly, like the image at right, his teachings has been oversimplified and distilled down to a short definition that, to me, has lost a lot of its original meaning or, as in some cases, completely missing the mark.
Rather than getting into a lengthy dissertation on what Bresson considered the decisive moment is I thought I would just share some of my ideas about how I interpret it to be. My take is based on my own interpretation of how Henri Cartier-Bresson explains it, which in the context of his book is very little, and in how he used certain techniques to visually represent the decisive moment visually.
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