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August 2009 Archives

August 10, 2009

Tips for Greener Photography: Mulch Marketing 201

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Presenting Yourself as an Eco-Friendly Photographer

By Whitney Elizabeth

As photographers and business owners, we are constantly looking for ways to produce eye-catching promotional pieces that strengthen your brand. When considering which promotional products to purchase, consider the impact your products will have on the environment. Begin with the following questions:

  • Is the product a useful, reusable product or will it be quickly discarded?
  • What will your client do when they are finished using the product you have given them? Is it recyclable?
  • Where is the product made?
  • Does the product fit in with your branding and mission statement?

Buying promotional products that do not portray your brand appropriately can be negative for your business. Here are some ideas for unique promotional items that will have a reduced environmental impact and will support your branding as an eco-friendly photographer.

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August 11, 2009

Review: Lowepro Pro Roller x200

By Curtis Joe Walker

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Roller bags are all about maximum capacity, since there’s no concern about breaking the user’s back. The primary design challenge is making the bag small enough to use as a carry-on, yet large enough to hold everything while maintaining enough padding to keep things secure while traveling. The Lowepro Pro Roller x200 manages to meet every requirment. The new Pro Roller x-Series features x100, x200 and x300 sizes, with the x100 and x200 being small enough to meet carry-on restrictions.

This bag sports a number of innovative features, but the most interesting is the ability to zip out the entire camera organization compartment for use as a backpack. The Reserve Pack is convenient not only for lugging gear on location, but also for making the outer case available to use as a normal piece of luggage. Of course, the backpack is only a backpack in the barest sense of the word. Ergonomics are limited, and the straps are quite thin. It’s not meant to replace a dedicated backpack, but to add some functionality in a pinch or for hiking to a location where a roller bag would be inconvenient or impossible to use. It also allows for a second suitcase to magically appear should souvenirs unexpectedly overwhelm the rest of your luggage.

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A TSA-approved Lock & Go System combination cable lock ensures that the contents of the bag won’t be swiped by a quick-fingered zipper maestro, but doesn’t have enough slack to chain the bag to a luggage cart or other suitcase.

On the extending handle grip, there’s a set of hidden threads for the impromptu tripod mount to attach to. Using the handle as a tripod isn’t ideal, but it’s a nice touch that might save the day. It also has potential for use as a light stand.

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August 12, 2009

First Look: StudioPlus Software

It’s a photographer’s dream to be able to create art day in and day out. Only problem? As professionals, we have to do more than photograph; the books need balancing, and finances need tracking. Since its inception, my studio management software has been Intuit QuickBooks. QuickBooks is a versatile tool, adaptable to any industry, yet it’s just not made for photographers. 

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So, for the past year, I’ve been on the lookout for a good solution to my studio management needs.  StudioPlus Software is designed specifically for the photographic industry and includes a range of features that aim to satisfy the needs of both the small boutique studio and the multi-location megastudio. The best part? I’ve been told it integrates with QuickBooks, so I should be able to enhance my current system, instead of starting over.

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If you’re considering switching software, but are worried about getting overwhelmed, the staff at StudioPlus seems to understand it’s a big task to implement their software. Customers typically receive one-on-one support and training during the StudioPlus installation process. These training sessions are completed on a timeframe that allows you to learn at your own pace. I recently completed my first training session, which consisted of installation of the software, an overview of its features, and a step-by-step walk-through of real-life use. I asked a lot of questions, but left the training session feeling very optimistic about integrating StudioPlus into a typical studio workflow.

—Betsy Finn, CPP
Learnwithbetsy.com

Finn will report on her experience in implementing and working with StudioPlus Software an upcoming issue of Professional Photographer magazine and in PPmag.com Web Exclusives.

Tryout: Canon Selphy as a Reception Add-On

By Kim Larson

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I had been struggling for a while to find unique ways to set me apart from my local competition, so when PPA gave me the opportunity to try out the Canon Selphy ES3 printer at a wedding reception I jumped at the opportunity—could this be exactly what I was looking for?

SETUP

Although I could have just used the Selphy printer to print off a few photos from the day’s wedding ceremony to display at the reception for guests to enjoy, I decided to do something different. With just about everyone owning point-and-shoot digital cameras now, I decided to put the printer on display at the reception so people could print off their own photos. I allowed everyone free access to the printer, with the ability to print photos for the bride and groom, or even themselves if they desired.

To set up the table for the printer, I used a small 24x48-inch folding table and a white floor-length tablecloth. I arranged scrapbook photo corners on white posterboard to display some of the printed photos and left room for simple instructions on how to re-fill the printer should it run out of paper. I also put up a sign in an 8x10 photo frame that announced the bride and groom’s “photobooth,” and a box where people could put the printed photos to give to the bride and groom.

Supplies

Canon Selphy ES3 Printer: $199 (MSRP)
Printer Ink/Paper Refill Cartridges (100 prints): $30
24x48 Folding Table: $49
Tablecloth: $10
Posterboard and Scrapbooking supplies: $15
Box to hold bride and groom’s photos: $5
8x10 frame: $5

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Photo table images ©Kim Larson

THE PRINTER

The Canon Selphy ES3 printer is the perfect printer for this kind of work. It is not heavy, so it is easy to transport to the reception with its built-in handle. You do not need a computer to use it, and it will accept most digital camera cards. My favorite feature of this printer is the lack of ink cartridges. Because the ink is actually built into the paper cartridge, you never have to worry about replacing ink. This makes it incredibly easy for guests at the wedding reception to manage the printer themselves. The instructions are simple: When the printer is out of paper, you just open the paper door, slide out the used paper cartridge and slide in a new one!

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Review: Crumpler 8 Million Dollar Home, Cork And Fork

Two (or three) bags to get you there

By Curtis Joe Walker

8 Million Dollar Home

Crumpler’s $170 8 Million Dollar Home is a handy, versatile shoulder bag for photographers on the go. With a bevy of inserts included, the bag can handle anything from two pro DSLRs with long lenses, or a DSLR, laptop and accessories. As tested, a DSLR body with lens, two medium-sized lenses, three hotshoe flashes, 15-inch laptop and miscellaneous accessories fit in perfectly.

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The interior is all Velcro compatible, so the guts can be customized as desired. As with most Crumpler bags, there will be leftover inserts once the inside is customized. The bright green interior helps make loose items stand out. A mesh pocket in the top flap is great for batteries and small items, while a pair of pockets on the front of the bag provide a total of three slim compartments for organizing gear and paperwork.

On each side of the bag are a pair of loops through which you can slip tripod legs. That can be easier said than done, depending on the size of the legs and the material they’re covered with. Rubberized legs are particularly tough to deal with. In any case, the loops hold securely enough, but require two hands to insert and remove the tripod in most cases.

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Continue reading "Review: Crumpler 8 Million Dollar Home, Cork And Fork" »

About August 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in August 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2009 is the previous archive.

September 2009 is the next archive.

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


 
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