About Jennifer Kruger

Jennifer Barr Kruger is Director of Communications for Photo Marketing Association International and Publisher of PMA magazine. In addition, Kruger is editor of PMA Newsline and PMA Newsline Weekly, and was previously the editor of several other industry publications. She is a contributor to both the DIMAcast (www.DIMAcast.com) and the Imaging Executive Podcast (www.imagingexecutive.com). Kruger is a 2010 ADDY Award winner for podcasting. She joined PMA in 1994.

CloudCutout’s math formulas create better, cheaper knockouts

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Danish startup CloudCutout came to Las Vegas in January to learn if PMA 2015 attendees would be interested in their new automatic background removal technology. After discovering a significant need for better, less expensive green screen knockouts, particularly among school photographers, the founders decided to launch a professional green screen knockout service.

CloudCutout partner Jonas Pilgaard said his company’s knockout technology is based on mathematical  formulas rather than color correction. This allows CloudCutout to detect small details, such as individual hairs, giving portraits a smoother and more natural look.

The service starts at 20 cents per image, and works on other backgrounds as well, including white and gray.cloudcutout

MMIE 606: Tell ’em what’s selling

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Another business uses some humor in a tweet to put a little fun into marketing.

Another business uses some humor in a tweet to put a little fun into marketing.

McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #606 – June 23, 2015

What’s selling? Can you make hay out of telling your (potential) customers the answer?

We know of one store (not in the photo space) that did a survey of what had been selling, then had some fun with a tweet. In this case, it related to colors. So, how about noting black cameras are still the best sellers, but you (i.e., the customer) can still get red or blue? And show a red and a blue camera.

Yeah, it’s light, even silly, but it could be fun for your potential customers.

On a little more serious note, if you can tell your customers what camera (lens, card, whatever) is a best seller, what’s not to suggest they’ll think, ‘if that’s what lots of people are buying, maybe I should take a look at it.’

So what’s your idea?

We’ve given you hundreds and hundreds of marketing ideas, now it’s your turn.

  • Got a promotion that worked? An idea generated by a staffer? Something that’s exciting and/or motivating the crew? Doing something that’s bringing customers in, got customers buzzing, got them buying? Tell us.
  • We’d appreciate getting pictures to help illustrate the ideas.
  • Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com.
  • Don’t worry if you’re not the best writer; we’ll be happy to tidy things up for you.
  • And if you want to take a look at more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas

Judging underway in PMA’s National Photo Month photo contest

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We are so excited about all the amazing entries we received in the National Photo Month “Freeze a Frame in May” photo contest. As part of our effort to increase enthusiasm around photography, this contest brought in several hundred entries for 12 prize packages worth up to $3,000, thanks to our very generous prize contributors.

Now comes the hard part – choosing the winners! We are very glad to have the help of some highly talented and well-known leaders in professional photography to do that difficult task for us. Our six judges are tackling this job now, and all winners will be notified by June 30.

Meet our judges:

Suzette-AllenSuzette Allen
Suzette is one of the leaders in our industry, as a professional photographer 30 years and also a passionate educator, teaching Adobe Photoshop for the past 14 years. She is now pioneering a new territory with Video, adding Motion to her still photos to create Hybrid eProducts for marketing and sales! Suzette is passionate about helping photographers to not only create, but to embrace new technology, tech terms, and software! She loves sharing the fresh and exciting language of seeing/communicating with movement and video, which opens the possibilities of the art, where we can  visualize, document, create, and sell our photography with Motion!

Darty-HinesDarty Hines
Darty Hines has been in the photography industry for over 20 years, working with some of the largest and most successful studios in the country. Darty has won many national awards for his photography. He is a self taught marketer and has been the marketing director for Colleen & Co. photography studios in Central Pennsylvania for over 15 years. Darty and his wife, Michele, also own and operate SYNC, one of the most popular and innovative educational conferences in the photography industry. SYNC is driven by Darty’s passion to help and empower portrait photographers to be better business people and better photographers. He believes that education is the true key to success.

Joseph-CristinaJoseph Cristina
Joseph Cristina is a professional photographer, entrepreneur, inventor, educator and internet radio personality. His experience spanning over 24 years, began while attending the Art Institute, where he studied Commercial Photography and Design. After working in the industry for many years Joseph established Allure Multimedia in 2006 to provide commercial photography and design services for his clients. Joseph’s work includes magazine covers, celebrities, high society, branding portraiture, music albums, fashion photography, and video production. In 2012, he invented the Focus Pyramid, an Auto-Focus Lens Calibration tool. His patent pending product has helped thousands of photographers and videographers worldwide. Joseph partnered with Trevor Current in 2011 to create the Digital Photography Cafe Show, a weekly audio and video series that has ranked in the top 10 digital photography shows on Apple’s iTunes for more than 4 years.

Dave-StockDave Stock
Dave Stock began his professional career almost forty years ago as an action sports photographer and magazine editor, working for a wide range of commercial and editorial clients. He has shot on assignment for Sports Illustrated, NFL Properties, AT&T and dozens of others, as well as being a team photographer for the San Francisco 49ers in the 80’s. The founder and former CEO of NFL licensee ProLook, Inc., Dave has since focused on applying his lessons learned to the challenge of producing exceptional images within the constraints of a high volume youth sports photo shoot. His company, TeamDSP, has demonstrated that a total dedication to quality and efficiency can lead to higher profits, sustained growth and customer loyalty.

Cliff-MautnerCliff Mautner
Cliff’s career in photography spans 33 years. After shooting for 15 years and 6000 assignments as a photojournalist with the Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as shooting for an eclectic array of commercial clients ranging from Comcast to Subaru, Cliff launched his wedding photography career. After about 900 weddings or so, he still brings the same passion and intensity with him to each event. He’s perhaps known for his overall skill set, and his ability to produce quality images in some of the most difficult lighting imaginable, and for his diligence in capturing beautiful, timeless moments.

Cliff is a very proud Nikon Ambassador to the United States, was named one of the top ten wedding photographers in the world by American PHOTO magazine, received the 2012 Nikon WPPI Photographer of the Year award, honored in 2013 with the International Photographic Council Leadership medal at the United Nations, presented with the WPPI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015, and won the Grand Award for photojournalism for the second time at WPPI in 2015. His dedication to his clients is paramount, and he continues to shoot 45-50 weddings per year out of his Haddonfield NJ studio.

Cliff is also the founder of the highly acclaimed Lighting and Skill set Bootcamp – a workshop that has drawn students from over 40 countries over the past 8 years. This workshop is dedicated to empowering photographers with the skills needed to acquire a style of their own.

Kirk-VoclainKirk Voclain
Kirk Voclain’s love for photography began when he got his first camera by saving box tops from a popular breakfast cereal when he was just 8 years old. He photographed his first wedding professionally at the age of only 15. He only charged $100. He learned the technical aspects of photography, marketing, and business by managing a camera store for 9 years.

He opened Kirk Voclain Photography in April 1987, and quickly grew into the area’s most creative and innovative photographer, receiving countless awards, and having several photographs accepted into the Disney World Kodak EPCOT exhibit. His work has been published in Rangefinder and numerous other magazines. Kirk also operates the Pro4uM.com professional photography education community with his wife, Tammy.

MMIE 605: Have a little fun

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MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #605 – June 16, 2015

Peace Camera, Raleigh, N.C.

Ever run across the term “anthropomorphism”? It has nothing to do with lenses (achromatic or anamorphic). It means giving human characteristics to an animal or object. Classic example: Bugs Bunny.

So we were tickled to see the folks at Peace Camera roll out the anthropomorphism as part of a sales pitch for used bags. MMIE605 - June 16 2015

They posted on their site an entry which said: “Used TTP Streetwalker Pro bag priced at $100 and a used TTP Airport Take Off bag priced at $200. Both bags are in need of a new home, look how sad they look since they do not have any camera gear in them.”

We just had to ask them, did the pitch work?

The answer: “Sure did work; both bags sold with in a week.”

So what’s your idea?

We’ve given you hundreds and hundreds of marketing ideas, now it’s your turn.

  • Got a promotion that worked? An idea generated by a staffer? Something that’s exciting and/or motivating the crew? Doing something that’s bringing customers in, got customers buzzing, got them buying? Tell us.
  • We’d appreciate getting pictures to help illustrate the ideas.
  • Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com.
  • Don’t worry if you’re not the best writer; we’ll be happy to tidy things up for you.
  • And if you want to take a look at more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas

MMIE 604: Invite people in

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MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #604 – June 9, 2015

MMIE’s editor was recently in the United Kingdom and brought back this idea from his personal experiences there:

One major retailer has its greeters, inside the store, but have you considered putting a staffer outside the door to invite people in? It turns an otherwise mundane walk by stores into a very personal experience.

Having someone, wearing identifying logos of course (and no clipboards), stop you and ask “Have you made any prints from your smartphone, to hang on your wall or give as a gift? We’ve got the equipment to do that in just a couple of minutes. Come on in and we’ll look after you.”

Or how about “Need a memory card for your camera? We have a great selection of cards in a variety of capacities and prices. Come on in and we’ll look after you.”

You get the idea. Short, not a full-blown sales pitch, an invitation.

If mall regulations prevent you from doing this, consider putting a staffer right by the window, holding product or even signs, and using the well-known “come on in” sweeping arm gesture to extend the invitation.

Let me tell you, this is a fun, heartwarming and very personal thing to have happen to you as you’re walking along, and if the approach is made properly – with eye contact and warmth in the voice. It doesn’t work if the voice you hear sounds as if the person is bored right out of their mind or the patter is pure rote.

And it’s not a contest to see how many people you can jam into the store, and if the warmth and friendliness doesn’t extend to personnel inside the store, and the new customer has to wait for service, the effort is lost.

Consider personally extending the invitation when store traffic is slow and see what happens.

So what’s your idea?

We’ve given you hundreds and hundreds of marketing ideas, now it’s your turn.

  • Got a promotion that worked? An idea generated by a staffer? Something that’s exciting and/or motivating the crew? Doing something that’s bringing customers in, got customers buzzing, got them buying? Tell us.
  • We’d appreciate getting pictures to help illustrate the ideas.
  • Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com.
  • Don’t worry if you’re not the best writer; we’ll be happy to tidy things up for you.
  • And if you want to take a look at more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas

MMIE 603: Deliver unique experiences

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MIME Logo PMAN McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #603 – June 2, 2015

Mike Lamotte, National Camera Exchange, Golden Valley, MN;

How many people do you know who can get up close and personal with a wolf? If you’re a National Camera Exchange customer you have that chance.

Last year, National put together a unique combination instruction and photo-taking session for 15 customers. Even at a fairly expensive $250 a pop, it was sold out in hours, notes Mike Lamotte. “Very successful.”mmie 603

This year, the store has expanded the offering, with three sessions, each one starting with a two hour information session on photographing wildlife, followed by the instructor taking the group to Furever Wild in nearby Lakeville where they get to take pictures of wolf pups.

Lamotte advises all three sessions – again at $250 per person – were filled within a couple of days. That’s because it’s a “cool opportunity,” he says.

After each session the store asks the photographers to send in their best images, and the store posts them on its Facebook page.

There’s been lots of hype about and ink given to CX – customer experience. National Camera Exchange has got it working for them. What can you do to help your customers get unique experiences?

So what’s your idea?

We’ve given you hundreds and hundreds of marketing ideas, now it’s your turn.

  • Got a promotion that worked? An idea generated by a staffer? Something that’s exciting and/or motivating the crew? Doing something that’s bringing customers in, got customers buzzing, got them buying? Tell us.
  • We’d appreciate getting pictures to help illustrate the ideas.
  • Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com.
  • Don’t worry if you’re not the best writer; we’ll be happy to tidy things up for you.
  • And if you want to take a look at more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas

Throw this camera! New flying Lily Camera is toss-and-go

LILY Blue-Eyes

LILY Blue-EyesWith the new, $499 flying Lily Camera, drones have reached a new level of cool. Created in a robotics lab at UC Berkeley, Lily takes flight when you toss it in the air — then flies up to 25 miles per hour, taking high-quality photos and videos. “Home base” to Lily is the owner’s hand. Via the tracking device — which is a GPS-enabled bracelet you wear — you can summon Lily back to make a graceful palm landing. That same tracking device also enables audio recording, which is automatically synchronized with the camera’s footage. Because of the bracelet, no controller is needed. Lily flies below 400 feet and always in the line of sight, so it doesn’t face FAA regulation — and it’s waterproof.

Check out this video, and keep an eye out for an interview with Lily founder Antoine Balaresque coming soon on the PMA Podcast.

MMIE 602: Choose the right photographer as class teacher

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MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #602 – May 26, 2015

Brian Mundy, Octane Creative Media, Philips Ranch, Calif.

Brian Mundy was part of the focus of last week’s MMIE because he was the speaker at an event at Paul’s Photo in Torrance, Calif. Combine that with his long-time connection with DIMA, and you’ve got someone with some strong opinions about what kind of photographer a retailer should hire to make presentations at classes. mmie 602

There are some amazing people in the business, he notes, people with vast quantities of knowledge. Equally important, as far as Mundy is concerned, a teacher should be something of an entertainer. No, he’s not talking about one-liners or stand-up comedy routines, rather personalities that grab attention, keep people engaged. You want the class to be alive.

Some photographers with lots of knowledge deliver dry presentations, says Mundy, and lose their audience.

So, if you’re searching for someone to teach a class at your store, here’s what you should look for, Mundy advises:

  1. The photographer must be knowledgeable.
  2. The photographer should be an easy-going people-person who keeps you engaged, who makes you enjoy the class and thereby retain the information delivered.

Say, doesn’t that sound like two-thirds of the requirement for a good sales person working the store’s floor?

But if you’re thinking of shoving one of your salespeople in front of a crowd, remember some people are terrified speechless of being in front of a large audience. Many salespeople are great one on one, but a bit apprehensive talking to a group. We remember one retailer who had a salesperson who was great with customers but didn’t want to teach classes. The store started her doing one-on-one personalized classes, then groups of two or three at a time, then larger groups . . . and the rest, as they say, is history.

So… what’s your idea?

We’ve given you hundreds and hundreds of marketing ideas, now it’s your turn.

  • Got a promotion that worked? An idea generated by a staffer? Something that’s exciting and/or motivating the crew? Doing something that’s bringing customers in, got customers buzzing, got them buying? Tell us.
  • We’d appreciate getting pictures to help illustrate the ideas.
  • Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com.
  • Don’t worry if you’re not the best writer; we’ll be happy to tidy things up for you.
  • And if you want to take a look at more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas

PMA announces new strategic direction and initiatives

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PMAlogo_CMYK_smallSince early in January, we have been on a mission to determine the best way for PMA to move forward into the future. Our goal has been to recapture the vitality of PMA, and its ability to fulfill the changing needs of the photography industry. With that goal in mind, we have sought input and direction from hundreds of industry members, gathering insight into their business challenges and how PMA can help address them.

With the impassioned support of so many, and in conjunction with a very motivated staff and Executive Committee, we have conducted interviews, scheduled in-person visits and made phone calls. We have attended conferences all over the world; we have surveyed the industry; and we have gathered leading representatives from across the imaging spectrum for a two-day strategic retreat, held last month in Virginia.

All these efforts have provided us with a wealth of information. After carefully analyzing it all, together with the Executive Committee and staff, we have determined four key pillars that will be the cornerstones on which we will build the new PMA. We are delighted to say the PMA Executive Committee voted unanimously, on May 13, 2015, to move forward with this strategic direction.

PMA will:

• Empower businesses to effectively serve and sell to the consumer

We will provide tools and resources to help you build your business, and to increase consumer enthusiasm for photography products, services and equipment. Our goal is to create a better and more direct connection between consumers and service providers.

The first example of this effort is already well underway – it is our National Photo Month website, at www.natlphotomonth.org. This site offers a constantly expanding menu of photography tips and inspiration for consumers, as well as business tools and ready-made marketing materials for our members, to take full advantage of the excitement around National Photo Month. It’s also home to the first in our new series of photo contests. Prizes, awarded at both the professional and the hobbyist level, are worth up to $3,000 in each category. This site has tips and resources that can be used by PMA members internationally, even though its current focus is the U.S. National Photo Month event. After May, the site will transition to a permanent consumer-facing site, Celebratephotos.com, to keep the excitement growing worldwide on an ongoing basis.

Evangelize, advocate and promote overall industry interests

PMA will advocate on behalf on the industry to encourage positive press and government action in favor of photography businesses, developing an outreach strategy for educating and informing federal agencies about the real consumer benefits that flow directly from local businesses. We are already working in this arena, with the help of Don Kennedy from our U.K. office, on preventing the passage of legislation that would allow “selfies” to be used as passport photos. Similar legislation has been proposed in the U.S. and other countries.

• Provide knowledge and expertise, so the photography businesses can grow and thrive

PMA is poised to become the “go-to” resource for any and all photo industry related information. To accomplish this, we are implementing a new, online “knowledge hub” that will offer not only all the valuable content you’re used to finding in PMA Newsline, PMA Magazine, and on the PMA Podcast, but also analyst insights, resources and tools for your business, trend data, and marketing research information and reports from leading industry research firms, and more.

In addition, we are launching a new PMA website that will allow you to connect with the PMA communities you are most interested in. Here you will be able to interact with your colleagues across the entire spectrum of the imaging industry, and in any segment that interests you.

The greatest opportunity for learning and interaction will always be in-person events. PMA is currently planning the first of our next-generation photo business and technology summits, which will take place this fall in California.

• Create, support and promote industry-related guidelines and conventions

PMA will develop common conventions and guidelines that allow open APIs, standards and “future proof” interoperability to remove the barriers to greater consumer action around photo products and services.

In addition, PMA is further developing certification programs and best practice guidelines, as well as a ”train the trainer” program to help you and your staff become an education source for consumers. These will provide significant points of differentiation from your competitors, help you create greater passion for photography in your community, and give your business the edge it needs to grow to higher and higher levels of success.

As you can see, with these initiatives now in place, your PMA staff is already hard at work developing practical tools, resources and events to deliver on the promise they hold. We will continue to expand on these initial objectives as the needs of our members evolve.

We are so excited for the future, and we thank you for your enduring support.

Georgia McCabe         &      Gaby Mullinax
PMA CEO                            PMA President

MMIE: Bring in the band

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MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #601 – May 19, 2015

Mark Comon, Paul’s Photo, Torrance, CA; http://www.paulsphoto.com & Brian Mundy, Octane Creative Media, Philips Ranch, CA; http://www.octanecreativemedia.com/

Tuesday, April 7 was First Tuesday at Paul’s Photo . . . actually at its Creative Photo Academy . . . and the band was groovin’. Band? At a photo class? Indeed. Not just any band, it was Brian Mundy’s Brewhouse Blues Band, and if you’ve been paying any kind of attention to these pages you’ll recognize Mundy’s name from his close association with DIMA and PMA. But, still, a band?

That’s Brian Mundy, back left, on bass, with the Brewhouse Blues Band, and the speaker at Paul’s Photo’s First Tuesday event.

That’s Brian Mundy, back left, on bass, with the Brewhouse Blues Band, and the speaker at Paul’s Photo’s First Tuesday event.

 

You see, Brian hardly needs an excuse to get the boys together to play, and the fact that he was a guest speaker at the Creative Photo Academy . . . well, it was a natural.

In fact, he says, there are a lot of creative people in the photo industry, people who have a strong musical bent along with their photographic knowledge. During the First Tuesday event, attendees were relating to the music, making a connection with the creative.

After the band’s set, Brian then segued into a presentation on his life behind the scenes of the digital imaging industry as part of the Academy’s Pro Talk series. Past pros making presentations have been many and varied in their specialities, providing insights and motivation for those taking part in the session.

Part of the email promo for classes at Paul's Photo

Part of the email promo for classes at Paul’s Photo

Mark Comon says First Tuesday is the store’s art get-together, just like the First Friday art walks which are a big deal in some communities. Mark says if he doesn’t get 100 people to attend, he’ll be disappointed. And it’s not as if Brian’s going to be selling products; this is a community-building deal.

“It’s 100 percent about getting people to love photography.”

What a great way to get customers to hang out for an evening, a fun event, giving back to the community.

So, looking for a way to liven up the classes your store presents? Try bringing in a band.

What’s your idea?

We’ve given you hundreds and hundreds of marketing ideas, now it’s your turn.

  • Got a promotion that worked? An idea generated by a staffer? Something that’s exciting and/or motivating the crew? Doing something that’s bringing customers in, got customers buzzing, got them buying? Tell us.
  • We’d appreciate getting pictures to help illustrate the ideas.
  • Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com.
  • Don’t worry if you’re not the best writer; we’ll be happy to tidy things up for you.
  • And if you want to take a look at more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas