Become invincible to lawsuits & save thousands in taxes

By Josh Litwin, Memento Press
You may have known that America is, by far, the most litigious society in the world. But did you know that, over the last 20 years, lawsuits against small business have exploded? DIMA2013 Conference speaker GK Mangelson tells us it’s not whether you will be sued, but when. He recounts stories of owners who didn’t even do anything wrong themselves, only to lose everything through a now-accepted loose interpretation of the law.
In this environment, he strongly suggests we never, ever hold our assets as sole proprietorships.  He also puts personal or joint ownership of assets in the same “NEVER do this” category. We are making it easy for plaintiff’s attorney to take our company, home & savings. Instead, he argues that we put our assets into some form of limited partnership or other protected legal vehicle, especially a family limited partnership. In this environment, he categorizes our assets into two categories. The first are “safe” assets, that are not likely to trigger a lawsuit. These include stocks & savings for example. Then there are “unsafe” assets, such as homes, real estate & vehicles, that can be involved in an accident. GK went on to describe how to manage these “safe” & “unsafe” assets in a way that compartmentalizes your potential liability.
In addition to protecting us from lawsuits, GK argues that plenty of our wealth is lost paying taxes we can avoid, along with poor estate planning. Corporations are a terrific vehicle for saving taxes, and can also be the general partners in an LP. He showed how you can create a structure using the tax advantages of a corporation & the liability protection of an LP to create a personal asset management system.
The bad news: not many lawyers & accountants are experts in this stuff. GK’s company, American Society for Asset Protection, sells a kit that you can give to your attorney, that will help them do their job correctly, and hopefully at lower cost, than they might otherwise. Details can be found at: americansocietyap.org

Pentax Retro camera features fast lens

Pentax mx-1

 

Pentax says its MX-1 will appeal to a wide variety of photo enthusiasts with its design and vintage lines — and fast F1.8-2.5 lens.

“Encased in brass covers with an ergonomically-pleasing, texturized grip, the MX-1’s body is a tactile experience,” the company says. “The brass panels are cool to the touch and its high-end composition feels substantial in the hand, enabling simple and intuitive handling.” The lens “makes creating beautiful focusing effects and bokeh achievable, enabling heightened creative expression and artistic personalization.” It’s a 4x zoom.

Also, the Handheld Night snap mode helps the photographer capture blur-free night-time images by taking multiple images at one time, then synthesizing them into a single composite picture, Pentax adds.

The $500 camera has a 12-megapixel sensor and a 3-inch articulated LCD.

Canon even-smaller compact tells stories

canon N

 

How do you differentiate your compact cameras these days? With its PowerShot N, Canon is trying two tactics: a square small shape, and features to make the camera “the ultimate storytelling tool.”

With a “sleek and distinct design,” the PowerShot N measures 3.09 x 2.37 x 1.15 inches, making it ideal for quick on-the-go shooting, the company says.

The new Creative Shot mode enhances artistic expression and helps people’s creativity , Canon says: the imaging mode “intuitively analyzes an image and automatically creates a series of five artistic photos of the original with varying composition, lighting and color.”

The N has shutter and zoom rings on the 8x optical zoom lens, a 12-megapixel sensor, and a 2.8-inch tilting touchscreen. WiFi connects the camera to mobile devices to upload images. It will sell in in April  for $300.

Canon also updated its compact line with the PowerShot Elph 130 IS, A2600, and A1400.

More information is here.

Ron Inkley receives PMA/DIMA Lifetime Achievement Award

Ron Inkley

Ron Inkley

On behalf of his father, Ron Inkley, Mat Inkley (left) accepts the PMA/DIMA Lifetime Achievement Award from PMA Executive Director Jim Esp. Photo by John Swainston.

The Digital Imaging Marketing Association (DIMA), a PMA member association,

honored Ron Inkley with the PMA/DIMA Lifetime Achievement Award at the Wynn Las Vegas XS Nightclub at Encore. The award was received by Inkley’s son, Mat, on behalf of Ron, who was unable to attend.

The PMA/DIMA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals whose vision and body of work have guided and helped shape the future of digital imaging. Inkley is only the fourth individual to receive this honor since the establishment of the award, joining Graham Nash, Mac Holbert, and George E. Smith.

Inkley opened his first photo specialty store in 1947, and built that business to more than twenty stores in four states. He has served the industry in many positions over the past 5 decades, including as President of PMA from 1972-1973 and many years as President of the Photographic Research Organization (PRO). He is a recipient of both the PMA Distinguished Service Award and the PMA Hall of Fame Award – the Association’s highest honor.

Most recently, he and his son Mat opened a new business, The Imaging Depot.

Jim Esp, Executive Director of PMA, who presented the award at a ceremony held Jan. 7, 2013, said, “On behalf of DIMA, it is an honor to give Ron Inkley this much-deserved recognition of a lifetime dedicated to growing and serving the imaging industry.”

PMA to help imaging manufacturers increase sales and expand market reach through The Big Photo Show

TheBigPhotoShow_vertical

The Big Photo Show will bring suppliers, retailers, labs and service providers together with consumers who are passionate about photography and videography.

Imaging manufacturers and retailers to benefit from direct sales pipeline to the most valuable photo consumers, on The Big Photo Show floor

 The Big Photo Show, just announced by PMA, the Worldwide Community of Imaging Associations, is an exciting opportunity for the top imaging suppliers and dealers to meet, interact with and sell products directly to the most avid photo buyers in the marketplace.

The inaugural event will be held from 10:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m. on May 4-5, 2013, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, California.

The Big Photo Show will bring tens of thousands of photo enthusiasts – a demographic that spent an average of $1,565 on photography equipment and related purchases in 2011* – in direct contact with exhibitors, who will demonstrate and sell their products and services to these most valuable customers in the imaging industry.

“PMA is all about promoting the growth of the imaging industry, and there is no better way to do that than by helping manufacturers, retailers, labs and service providers sell more units and make more money. That is exactly what will be happening at The Big Photo Show,” said PMA President Allen Showalter. “This is a golden opportunity for exhibitors to sell products and create new customers right there on the spot, and then keep them for a lifetime.”

In addition to the chance to find and purchase the latest imaging equipment and accessories, photo enthusiasts attending The Big Photo Show will discover tips and tricks from professional photographers, improve their skills, experience the latest photo and video innovations, learn about new imaging services, and find communities of like-minded enthusiasts, in person and online through www.thebigphotoshow.com.

Companies interested in exhibiting or in sponsorship opportunities at The Big Photo Show can contact Jeff Frazine at jfrazine@pmai.org for more information.

*From the 2011 Rise of the Amateur Report

Portrait retouching for the artistically challenged

Lee Varis

By Glynn Lavender, Creative Photo Workshops

Lee Varis

Being able to attend a session on photo retouching by the man who literally wrote the book on skin (“Skin” by Lee Varis ISBN 0470592125) was an opportunity not to be missed at this year’s PSPA/SPAA 2013 Conference.

Lee’s more than 35 years of experience in the photo industry working in advertising and media shone out during this presentation.

Demonstrating live two different skin retouching styles, Lee showed quickly and effectively how to clean up skin whilst maintaining the integrity of the image.

Lee’s ability to explain techniques in a jargon free way ensured all attendees got key take-aways from the session that they will be able to insert easily into their workflow.

One of the great things about attending conferences such as the PSPA is being given the opportunity to learn from experts and that learning changing the way you do things in your business.

This was one such session.


Marketing to digital mom

By Brian Fox, Fox-Mar Photography

The PSPA 2013 Conference session on “Marketing to Digital Mom” by Cherish Benton from ImageQuix was a welcome enlightenment on a new way for marketing continuously to parents.  She explained in detail marketing strategies for gathering email addresses from parents by adapting the traditional methods of pulling on “Mom’s heart strings.”  Planning out a scheduled email campaign as well as timing your email campaigns based on holidays, days of the week, even hours of the day was shown to be critical in the success of the campaign.

Strategies to draft effective subject lines and content in the emails were demonstrated.  We learned how to draft this content to effectively avoid your messages being filtered out by spam filters and/or ignored and deleted by the recipient.  Cherish explained to us that an email should still consist of at least 70 percent text and 30 percent graphics.  Most email clients will not display images unless the user opts for that option for each sender.

Cherish’s experience in broadcasting and marketing shined through in her creative, yet comprehensive approaches to marketing to the Digital Mom and Digitial Dad to help our industry maintain the tradition of school portraits.

Imaging apps and software – Desktop and mobile tools for enhancing photos

DSCN3432

By Chris Lydle, Chris’ Camera Center

The AIE Future Imaging Summit session 7 featured a panel of experts, chaired by Paul Worthington. The industry specialists were Brad Malcolm of Athentech, Craig Copley of Corel, Jim Tierney of Digital Anarchy, Vahe Christianian of Lifepics, Oren Boiman of Magisto, and Lori Birtley of Microsoft.

Let’s start with a scary statistic given by Vahe Christianian: He’s counted over 330 photographic apps but only 17 had some way of monetizing through printing. That may be what consumers want but it doesn’t lead to the long-term conservation of either photographs or photographic businesses.

The panel members represent companies that make software for retailers and labs as well as software that is sold or conveyed to the end user, and they agreed on a few points:

Consumers want to make pictures that look professional without effort or specific knowledge, or spending money. Consumers want better photos without a lot of mess and fuss on the back end.

Pro photographers are (usually) more understanding of the need to work to make their photos better.

People on Android seem to use social media more, iOs users seem to be more interested in emailing photos. Both categories are excited about panoramic photos and HDR.

What features do consumers want that aren’t available yet? Most often the panelists could respond “we’ve been doing that for years.” Reality is that consumers have to learn the capabilities of existing software and apps, but often what they want is not yet available in “a single click.”

Pros, on the other hand, know how to make good basic images. What they want in postproduction is speed.

Instagram helps people “feel like photographers” but it doesn’t make them photographers, said Oren Boiman.

The next challenge is to help consumer get to the next level. It’s too easy to capture, not to do anything more.

Paul Worthington asked, “shouldn’t your software automatically assume you don’t want red eyes, unsharpness, low contrast?” Responders from the audience answered with a resounding “yes,” with only one dissenter. Consumers don’t want to spend time on red eye correction. That’s work, while applying an Instagram filter is play.

On the platform question – mobile v. desktop? Agreement that big computers retain a speed advantage for processing big images and video – mandatory.  But you must be able to consume (view) output everywhere, so access via the cloud continues to grow in popularity.

Mobile devices make sense for viewing and capturing, but not much so for manipulation. Still they are the consumer’s platform of choice.

The panel feels a cross-platform app is not possible, but that cameras have to become smarter and more like a phone.

No matter what great photos we have, it doesn’t matter if we can’t find them. Vast quantities of photos pose a problem and we don’t have an answer.

So, the panel raised more questions than they could answer, but suggested directions mobile might be heading.

McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange returns on the DIMAcast and in PMA Newsline

Bill McCurry's Marketing Idea Exchange returns to PMA Newsline and the DIMAcast

Bill McCurry’s Marketing Idea Exchange returns to PMA Newsline and the DIMAcast

My good friend Brian Mundy of Octane Creative Media, host of the DIMAcast and recipient of a much-deserved 2013 Distinguished Service Award, shared some great news during his acceptance speech this morning at the 2013 PMA@CES Official Business Session: Bill McCurry is back!

Bill’s highly valuable and much-loved Marketing Idea Exchange is returning to the DIMAcast, the weekly podcast of the Digital Imaging Marketing Association. In addition, the very popular, long-running McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange (MMIE) newsletter, which temporarily suspended production last year to accommodate Bill’s busy international travel schedule, is returning as a twice-a-week section right here in PMA Newsline. (Click here to subscribe to the daily email version.)

The Marketing Idea Exchange podcasts, in which Bill interviews imaging thought leaders from all over the world to learn about their best and most profitable sales and marketing efforts, will return to the DIMAcast beginning January 14, 2013, and will then go live the first Monday of every month. On the other Mondays throughout each month, the DIMAcast will provide great interviews on an array of digital imaging and marketing topics from other interviewers, including myself and Brian Mundy, as well as PMA Senior Editor Paul Worthington, members of DIMA themselves – and a few surprise guests.

And the great news doesn’t stop there. In addition, the McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange newsletter is returning, in the form of bi-weekly posts in PMA Newsline. Just as the newsletter did, the new MMIE in PMA Newsline will feature the best marketing ideas submitted by readers; the “price” of the subscription is two ideas shared per year. The ideas will be received, edited and published in PMA Newsline by Editor Don Long, with help from Editor Emeritus Chris Lydle of Chris’ Camera Center, Aiken, S.C. New ideas will appear in PMA Newsline each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Send your ideas to editor@mccurryassoc.com.

“We are thrilled to welcome Bill’s Marketing Idea Exchange back to the DIMAcast, and to bring the MMIE back into publication in PMA Newsline,” said PMA President Allen Showalter of King Photo/Showalter Imaging Group. “The great marketing ideas for imaging retailers presented both in Bill’s interviews and the MMIE have helped so many DIMA and other PMA members find new, creative ways to resonate with their customers and make more money. PMA continues to fulfill its new mission of promoting the growth of the imaging industry — and bringing Bill and these fantastic marketing ideas back is a perfect fit with that mission.”