Building a new online print business at MailPix

MailPix-200x

 

Who says you can’t launch a new web photo service? Not MailPix, which reports its sales doubled almost every month in its first 90 days of operation, as well as its 50,000th site visitor, and more than 2,000 Facebook fans and 1,000 Twitter followers.

MailPix notes it is competing against established players like Shutterfly and Snapfish as well as “hundreds of other startups in a fast-growing $2 billion-plus photo/social expressions industry.”

The company says it is building its social media presence through online photo contests and promotions, “which draws traffic and customers to try our site.” It was founded this year by former Ritz Interactive CEO Fred Lerner.

 

Author and financial advisor Jeffrey Gitterman: “On giving”

Jeff Gitterman

Jeff Gitterman

Last November, I published the first in a series of articles written for us by  financial adviser Jeffrey L. Gitterman, author of the book, “Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity.” The second article is perfect for this time of year, as we often focus on giving gifts and helping others.  

On giving

In the conventional sense, philanthropy means “love for mankind, usually demonstrated by giving money to, or doing work for, other people.” When it comes to financial philanthropy, most people who give generously are those who already consider themselves wealthy. As a financial advisor, I’ve seen this time and time again, and this makes sense to a certain degree.  If you can’t support your own family and pay the daily bills, you probably won’t be writing $10,000 checks to even the most worthy of causes.

A few years ago, I went on a trip to a Land Rover training school in North Carolina. It was quite an experience. You get to drive a car that is smarter than you are when it comes to driving on rough terrain. The instructor told me, “If you’re going downhill and you start losing grip, don’t brake.” I thought he was kidding, but he wasn’t. He explained that with this car, you actually had to step on the gas, which is so contrary to everything we are usually taught. If you’re flying down a hill and you start losing control, your natural tendency is to step on the brake. But in this car, the trick was to do the opposite. The tires would then grab onto the dirt, engage, and provide the stability and grounding you needed.

Giving also sometimes seems counterintuitive, but it tends to work in the same way.  Just when your instincts tell you to try to hold on to as much as you can get, experience has taught me (sometimes the hard way) that you have to do completely do the opposite, and find a way to give.  This may sound like a simple principle, but it is one that often goes against so many of our deeply imprinted habits. Contrary to what many of us believe, giving is not just an afterthought to success.  It is, in my experience, the very key to true success, fulfillment, and lasting happiness.

My understanding of the power of giving came about many years ago, when I was just starting out as a financial advisor.  One of the initial appointments that I’d have with any new perspective client is what we call in the industry a “fact-finding session.”  The idea is that you are there simply to get information and gather data like their Social Security number, date of birth, place of work, the kind of house they lived in, income, assets, and so on.

One day, I was getting out of my car and about to walk into a prospect’s house to try and sell some insurance. I was way behind on my bills, and my mind was going on and on about how much I needed the sale. Desperation poured out of me as I caught my reflection in the car window.  I stopped and looked hard at that reflection and said to myself, “Who would want to buy anything from you?  Look at how desperate you look!”

I decided in that moment that I needed to drop my desperate, needy attitude and walk into this prospect’s house with the attitude of someone who was looking to give without expecting anything in return.  I dropped my worry about having to make a sale, and began to listen very deeply to what these perspective clients really wanted and needed.  And as I approached more clients this way, my meetings started to transform and my success as a financial advisor grew exponentially.

Although it sounds like a bit of a cliché, I was able to see firsthand as I was going through my own crisis around wealth and success that the more I gave to others; the more I received in return. Too many of us spend our whole lives waiting to get something from the world so that we can show up as the person we always knew we could be. Deep in our hearts we think there’s something missing. But when we flip that mindset, we can discover that by becoming a giver rather than a taker, we can change the world, literally, one person at a time.

Partly adapted from Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity © 2009 Jeffrey L. Gitterman – All rights reserved. Published by AMACOM Books, A Division of the American Management Association.

Jeff Gitterman is an award winning financial advisor and the CEO of Gitterman & Associates Wealth Management. He is also the co-founder of Beyond Success, a consulting firm that brings more holistic values to the world of business and finance. His first book, Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity, was recently published by AMACOM, the publishing house of the American Management Association.

On the DIMAcast: StickyAlbums, marketing for photographers

stickey

 

StickyAlbums allows shooters to create a unique slide show app for their client.
In this latest episode of the DIMAcast, founder Nate Grahek explains how his platform enables professional  photographers to create branded photo album apps stored on a client’s iOS or Android mobile device, or a personal computer. The service ties the sharable images to the photographer’s brand and website to generate more referrals.

The full interview is here.

 

Facebook will poke you

fb poke

 

Last week we discussed Snapchat and the new phenomenon of “self-destructing” photos — shots you can send for real-time visual communication without worrying they’ll be around forever to embarrass you — and predicted Facebook would soon offer its own version.

That happened almost instantaneously, as the leading social service introduced its Poke for Mobile app.

The iPhone app “makes it fun and easy to say hello to friends wherever you are,” the company says. The poke feature has been a part of Facebook since 2004. “Now we’re excited to share a new poke experience for mobile. With the Poke app, you can poke or send a message, photo, or video to Facebook friends to share what you’re up to in a lightweight way. You can poke an individual friend or several at once. Each message expires after a specific time you’ve set, either 1, 3, 5 or 10 seconds. When time runs out, the message disappears from the app.”

As we noted last week, “sexting” is a concern with these instant images. Facebook notes that “”If you ever see something you’re uncomfortable with, you can click the gear menu and report it.”

 

Tips for new SLR owners

pop photo SLR gift

 

Someone you know get a new camera for Christmas? Popular Photography has a primer for those who unwrapped their first SLR.

It’s a little on the more difficult/enthusiast side, with tips like using Raw and shutting of automatic modes — my interchangeable lens camera snaps fine JPEGs in auto, thankyouverymuch — but “7 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your First DSLR” is a good starter for budding shooters. “Before you can make the most of your new set-up, there are a few steps you’ll want to follow,” the article notes. More is here.

 

PMA offices closed Dec. 24-25, 2012

PMA offices are closed in observance of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on Dec. 24-25, 2012. The offices will reopen at 8:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 26.

Happy holidays!

January/February issue of PMA magazine is now online

PMAMagazine_JanFeb2013_250x331

I’m happy to announce the January/February issue of PMA Magazine – Connecting the Imaging Communities is live and online.

Check out our cover story, a profile of Creve Coeur Camera, which just opened a tenth location. It also features a look at Kodak’s plans for the future, with 2013 DIMA and 2013 PSPA/SPAA Conferences keynoter Ed Monahan, and an article on  Fujifilm’s extensive research into motivating consumers to make photo products.

Also in this issue:

  • PMA announces Hall of Fame and Distinguished Service Award winners
  • What you can do to stop employee theft
  • How some U.K. retailer made the most of the 2012
  • Olympics, while other fell flat
  • What has these photo retailers smiling
  • Hardcopy photo book maker Blurb branches into ebooks

Did your secret Santa miss the mark? Six ways to regift

Vicky Oliver

Vicky Oliver

Gift giving is supposed to spread cheer and goodwill, but in the workplace, it can be challenging to know the right thing to do. What if, for example, a coworker or employee gives you a gift that means a lot to them — but you hate it? Manhattan-based career adviser and image consultant Vicky Oliver, author of five bestselling books on personal branding, etiquette, and career development, including 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions, offers her advice for the right way to “regift.”

Six Ways to Regift

It’s better to give than to receive, especially when the gift you received isn’t something you want, like, or need. But it’s a shame to throw away perfectly good new items when someone else might really appreciate them. The problem is, many of us worry about the etiquette of regifting. Is regifting tacky? Could it hurt the recipient’s feelings? Not to worry. Here are six ways to regift that will make Miss Manners nod approvingly–and they’re easy on the pocketbook to boot.

Do it thoughtfully.

Just because you hate the book your sister-in-law gave you doesn’t mean you should just pass it on lazily to a friend. Try to think of someone for whom that book or other item would be really great fit–even if it’s a person not normally on your gift list. Your job is to find the unwanted item a good home, not just to get rid of it.

It’s all in the packaging.

The corner drugstore is a best-kept secret when it comes to finding stylish boxes, gift bags, and ribbons priced at next to nothing. Wrap the unwanted perfume, picture frame, or knickknack in some knockout packaging and your “regift” will get an instant face lift. While you don’t want to intentionally deceive the recipient, it doesn’t hurt to make their gift look elegant and “just bought.”

Swap till you drop.

Throw a swap-till-you-drop party around holiday time with your favorite friends and some food and drink to make it more fun. Ask everyone to bring a bag of high-quality tchotchkes, clothes, accessories, and household items–brand-new or like-new–that they want to give up. This is “organized regifting,” and everyone wins.

Fess up; don’t lie.

Depending on the recipient, it’s sometimes wise to admit, up front, that your gift wasn’t purchased by you. Tell them that the gift was so perfect for them that you couldn’t bear to keep it. Lying about where you purchased it will only get you in trouble, because they might not like the gift either–and then you’re caught when they try to return it.

Do it for good.

It’s great to give to the needy, and it’s a good lesson to teach kids. Around the holidays, find items that you’d like to donate to a charity, such as a Haiti relief organization or homeless shelter. Get your kids to do it too. Regifting to those who are in serious need will make everyone happy.

Do it on purpose.

Find a friend whose taste you admire. Then go shopping with together and buy two items you both love: a lamp, a scarf, or a belt, for instance. Agree to enjoy it for six months, then swap. “Intentional regifting” is a guaranteed way to get half off–with no bruised feelings on either side.

Photographing the largest sequoias

the president tree - photographer

 

The President is 27 feet in diameter and stretches 247 feet tall. No, not the one who just got re-elected — it’s a giant sequoia, the second largest tree on Earth [after the General Sherman] and at least 3,200 years old.

In the Sequoia National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains, a team of researchers scaled the mammoth redwood and took a series of unique photos, including a mammoth megapixel stitched-together composite shot.

National Geographic has a video showing the shooters up in the trees, as well as a plenty-interesting articles on the sequoias.

The group “put a line over the President’s crown,” NG reports, “rigged climbing ropes into position (with special protectors for the tree’s cambium), donned harnesses and helmets, and went up… They rigged ropes on the President and on a tall nearby tree, both for human ascent and for raising cameras.”

 

Cloud image storage: Dropbox acquires Snapjoy

dropbox

 

Where are you storing your own photos? Hopefully in more than one location, on multiple drives — and online in “the cloud.”

Cloud data storage leader Dropbox — which recently updated its own photo uploading —acquired another online imaging firm, Snapjoy, which aggregating photos from multiple sources.

Snapjoy says “by combining forces with their amazing team, we can leverage the technology and scale of their platform and focus on what matters — delivering an incredible photo experience to over 100 million people.”