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November 2008 Archives

November 1, 2008

The Boutique Photographer: Feeling the Pinch

By Sara Frances, M.Photog.Cr.

Think you’re immune to economic downturn because your boutique clients are less affected by ups and downs and will remain faithful buyers? Given the current volatility of the market and social patterns, this is almost certainly naive thinking that can seriously damage your business.

If you work with just 15-20 clients a year like we do, the loss of even one of them means a substantial percentage drop in annual gross income. And carriage trade clients, while they may spend lavishly once they’ve decided to do so, have always been conservative and careful with every purchase. Don’t panic; think of creative ways to keep yourself invested in the people you value most. I certainly don’t recommend sales or deep discounting. Those strategies do nothing good for your reputation as a boutique.

Find ways to add value and put yourself in the public eye. You need to show your “family” of clients how much you care about them. Special people who seek out the boutique photographer are, without fail, involved in civic projects and charities. They give time, effort and money to further all kinds of interesting and worthy events and fundraisers, all of which feel the economic pinch of falling contributions.

Director of the Denver Art Museum Dr. Lewis Sharp and his wife, Susan, pose outside the entrance to the recently completed Hamilton building, designed by Daniel Libeskind. The perfect holiday card! Image ©Sara Frances

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Strobist.com Links

Our November issue of Professional Photographer magazine featured an article on David Hobby and Strobist.com, a Web site dedicated to encouraging photographers to experiment and learn new techniques with the versatile yet unsung hot-shoe flash. Here are direct links to various popular Strobist projects, tutorials and groups mentioned in the article.

Strobist Ring Flash Week

Super Cheap DIY Ring Flash

Lighting 101

Strobist Group on Flickr

©David Hobby, Strobist.com

Review: Backpack Alternatives

Bags we love; One size doesn't fit all

By Curtis Joe Walker

There are many ways to securely and fashionably carry a camera and have fast access to both camera and accessories. Sling bags are arguably the all-round best for this purpose. Backpacks can be cumbersome and sweat inducing, wheelie bags can be bulky and unwieldy, and fanny packs just don't sit well with some folks. Let’s look at five sling bags we particularly like, in various situations and with various amounts of gear.

©Curtis Joe Walker

From left: Tamrac Velocity 8x, Lowepro Slingshot 350 AW, Crumpler Brazillion Dollar Home, Kata 3N1-20, Boda Dry

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Product Comparison: White Balance Filters

By Stan Sholik

If the number of products available to pre-capture white balance digital cameras is any indication, professional photographers’ interest in creating a neutral color balance must be very high. There is a good reason for this of course. While professional digital cameras do an excellent job autofocusing and autoexposing, auto white balance is not likely to give accurate, consistent color under many ambient lighting conditions.

White balance isn’t that much of an issue when making RAW captures as it is easy to adjust when processing the files, though it adds work time. When capturing in JPEG, or RAW + JPEG formats, it is important to have as accurate and consistent color as possible to reduce additional processing and saving of the compressed file.

With prices ranging from $8 to over $100, I thought it would be interesting to test a few of these white balance filters under actual ambient lighting conditions to see if they produced an accurate white balance and to examine the advantages or disadvantages to each. One of my photographer friends swears by Mr. Coffee filters for white balancing, and I was curious to see if he was really serious! My store was out of Mr. Coffee brand but had Melitta Junior Basket filters in stock, so I picked up a pack for testing.

Along with the Melitta, I tested five filters designed for professional photographers: the ClearWhite, ExpoDisc Neutral, Lally CAP, Mennon and Phoxle SpectraSnap. Designers of each of these photographic filters took a slightly different approach, and one approach or another might influence your decision as much as the accuracy of the white balance.

Top Row: ClearWhite, ExpoDisc, Lally CAP. Bottom Row: Melitta, Mennon, Phoxle SpectraSnap. Image ©Stan Sholik

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About November 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in November 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2008 is the previous archive.

December 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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