Archive for October, 2008
It’s sad news that Digital Railroad is shutting its doors. They were good people who meant well. Unfortunately, I don’t think they focused on the right people. They paid a lot of attention to photographers, but not as much (at least it looked like it from the outside!) to the photo-buyers. I had to use the DRR interface twice to judge the APA contest and both times it was awkward and confusing to build a lightbox, order the images in the box, etc. I’m no technical geek, but I’m not a total n00b either. I had concerns about that and when I was approached by them personally about my advocation for Livebooks, I told them I didn’t think that they were in the same department as LB. To me, as an end-user like a photo-buyer, DRR was a stock image library system company whereas Livebooks is a website design company.
Maybe, technically, DRR was superior to anything out there, but it looked less than slick. I think that bit them in the butt a lot. Image counts for a hell of a lot in this industry.
But, as I said earlier, the people meant well and were sincere in their desire to help photographers. I hope they manage to shut down with grace and without screwing over those who stuck with them to the end. And I hope all the DRR people land on their feet.
*****UPDATE: Apparently my hopes aren’t gonna happen. They’re shutting down their servers in less than 24 hours and seriously screwing their clients. Note I didn’t write “ex-clients” because the photographers have the expectation of being active clients until they get their files moved.
Shame on DRR for acting like this–it shows a totally self-centered way of thinking. Okay, so your company is eff’ed, that doesn’t mean you need to drag others down on your way out.
I want to apologize for being a couple of days late releasing another Creative Lube podcast. I have been completely swamped at school (just turned in a 14-page paper and have another important assignment due Thursday). However, I promise it will be done soon. I always think it is better to delay and keep the quality than to rush and release something half-assed.
Now if it’s half-assed just because it is, well, I guess I have no excuse.
Thanks for your patience!
The Authors’ Guild just reached a settlement with Google that will give them a nice chunk of change and help establish a registry so that their works aren’t ripped off in the future. This sounds like a good compromise, at least on the surface (I have not read ANY details).
I often hear photographers say that they “can’t” shoot film anymore even if they wanted to. That is, well, horse-hockey (unless your film choice is not longer available, of course). You can and should make your work using the tools that work best for you. If a client comes to you for your style, they can’t demand it using their preferred tools. In a very crude analogy, that would be like hiring a plumber but telling him (her) that he could only use a hammer to fix your toilet.
You don’t have to be a jerk about it, but you do have to stand up for your process, whatever it is. As long as the client gets the final product in a form s/he can use, then how you get there really doesn’t matter. So shoot film, if that gives you the right control. You’ll just have to take care of the scans, etc., on your end (most likely) so that you can present your client with a digital file at the end of the process.
And in case you think that is unreasonable, take a look at this article about an illustrator and what tool he uses.
If things are slow (and even if they are not), check on your licenses and see which ones are close to expiring (or recently expired). Contact those clients and see if they are interested in renewing or re-licensing some usage. After 9/11, when there was almost no new work out there, contact like that helped get a lot of photographers over the hump.
As your clients are looking for cost-effective ways to promote their products and services, your existing images have the value of having worked for them already! You may be exactly what they need right now.
Seems that much of what I (and others!) have been saying about websites was echoed at Louisa Curtis’ panel discussion. It sounds like it was a great event!!
For some of you, I hope this added evidence will convince you that you really need to re-examine your websites.
[That's from Hamlet, in case you didn't know]
My new book is less than 175 pages, but there is a ton of info in it. I’m not saying it’s witty, of course, but what I did try to do is to pack in as much info in as small of a book as possible. My designer even pushed the margins as much as possible so that the pages are really quite filled with text.
But, of course, that page count has some people complaining about the price. Why should they spend so much money on such a small book?!
Well, why should one photo cost $5,000 (or more!)? Because its usage is valuable, of course. Duh! It is the product of your mind–not a piece of film or just a digital file.
In the case of my book, I have poured out valuable advice that, if your worked directly with me or another consultant, would cost a hell of a lot more. And it’s in a portable and easily reference-able format! Frankly, it should cost a lot more, but I wanted to make it as inexpensive as I possibly could.
So, it’s not a tome you can use as a doorstop, but it is a manual that can redefine your marketing.
Here’s an interesting idea–the end of advertising agencies? There has been talk by many (large) companies about moving advertising in-house–not just the media but the creative as well. This makes a lot of sense for the companies involved. What will it mean for creative vendors like photographers?
Seth Godin (again) has a good post about this. It’s important.
I’m not saying that if you think happy thoughts and click your heels together, all will be well. I’d never say that! But I am saying that photographers have a tendency to hyperfocus and, let’s be honest, a lot of you love to complain. When you combine the two, it’s a quick road to Crapsville for your business (and, frankly, your life).
There are always positive things you can do for your business. Sometimes they feel counter-intuitive like spending a day at a museum when the phone has not been ringing (good for creative inspiration!). With all the bad news everyone is getting these days, sometimes the best thing you can do is turn your head the other way and do something, anything, positive.