Catch PMA 2015 Conferences speaker Heino Hilbig’s session on Youtube

Heino Hilbig

Heino HilbigHeino Hilbig of Mayflower Concepts presented a very compelling look at the real reasons behind declining camera sales — and how the industry should respond — at the PMA 2015 Conferences in January. If you missed it, you can join thousands of others and watch it on Youtube. Also, be sure to listen to an interview with Heino about selling cameras on the PMA Podcast.

2015 PPFA Annual Convention surpasses goals

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PPFA_RGB_150Several hundred members of the Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) returned from the annual PPFA Convention, held Jan. 25-28, 2015, at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, with new framing techniques and design ideas, marketing and business advice, connections with long-time friends and many new contacts from the worldwide framing community of retailers and suppliers.

For the fourth consecutive year, the PPFA Convention was hosted by the West Coast Art & Frame Expo/The National Conference, the largest annual show in the custom picture framing industry.

The PPFA Convention offered introductory to high-level educational sessions, with emphasis on framing techniques and designs to attract more customers. Networking events included the annual Welcome Reception & Vendor Showcase, a sneak peek of products offered at the trade expo.

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Keynoter Suzanne Smeaton

Frame historian Suzanne Smeaton delivered a sparkling luncheon keynote address, as well as an education session; and was joined in the PPFA educator line up by several industry experts.

A major highlight of the event was the International OPEN and PRINT framing competition, with entries displayed on a gallery wall near the PPFA booth. Winners received checks and ribbons during the PPFA Member Meeting, an event that also included the Chapter Volunteer, Service, Leadership and Lifetime Achievement awards; introduction of the 2015-16 PPFA International Board of Directors; and recognition of many volunteer committee and task force members as well as outgoing board members.

The framing competition is always a highlight of the PPFA Convention

The framing competition is always a highlight of the PPFA Convention

Exams and courses for the Certified Picture Framer (CPF) and Master Certified Picture Framer (MCPF) designations were offered, along with a Recertification Course; and a course was held for those interested in becoming PPFA competition judges.

In addition, PPFA Chapter Leaders from chapters in the U.S., Canada and Australia/New Zealand enjoyed a half-day conference of their own.

Members also relaxed with social activities, including breakfast meetings, a Chinese dinner, and an evening of bowling.

“We’ve had wonderful feedback from our members, who agree this was our best Convention to date,” said PPFA President Robin Gentry, MCPF. “Our keynote speaker, Suzanne Smeaton, was excellent, our education sessions were top-notch, the competition entries were beautiful, and the always popular Welcome Reception & Vendor Showcase was another huge networking success. We all went home inspired, reconnected with our framing community and looking forward to a successful year ahead for our members.”

Plans for another outstanding PPFA Convention in 2016 are under way. PPFA also holds regional events throughout the year.

PPFA honors 2015 Award Winners

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The Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) honored the following members during the PPFA Member Meeting, held January 25 at the PPFA 2015 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nev.

PPFA President Robin Gentry, MCPF, presented the winners with their respective awards:

PPFA Lifetime Achievement Award: John Ranes II, CPF, GCF, The Frame Workshop of Appleton, Inc., Appleton, Wis.
A Certified Picture Framer and Guild Certified Framer, John Ranes owns The Frame Workshop of Appleton, Inc. in Appleton, Wis., with his wife, Sarah. Their shop has won over 90 framing competition awards, and has long claimed the title of “The most award winning frame shop.” The shop is an excellent example of Ranes’ expertise on marketing, promotion and diversifying into gift and accessory sales; and Ranes was an early pioneer in the framing industry to focus on marketing on-line.

A PPFA member for 36 years, Ranes has served as Vice President of the Upper Midwest Chapter in Minnesota and served three terms as a board member of the Wisconsin Chapter where he was an originating member. He served three years on the PPFA National Board of Directors and has served on the PPFA Education committee, the Long- Range planning committee, and the Advisory committee. Ranes has presented mat cutting classes and seminars in over 15 different countries, and is a global ambassador making tremendous efforts in bridging the gap between the US and European/International framing communities.

He has been one of the top educators and consultants for PPFA, the West Coast Art & Frame show, Décor Magazine and Expos, Fletcher-Terry, Tru-Vue, and Picture Framing Magazine and has assisted distributors around the country with educating customers at Open Houses events/
Ranes travels and visits other frame shops, seeking out ideas and sharing his own insights. This past year, he chronicled several shops and shared their stories in social media.

PPFA Paul Frederick Distinction for Leadership Award: Cliff Wilson, MCPF, Framed In Tatnuck, Worcester, Mass.
After 25 years in the computer industry, including years as the Director of Color Management for Eastman Kodak and Vice President of Engineering for a couple of companies, Cliff Wilson started Framed In Tatnuck in 2002 and has been building and improving the Best Frame shop in Worcester, Mass., ever since.

A long time PPFA member, he has been an active member of the New England Chapter, served as president, and held other offices. He has been an active participant in starting programs that he eventually put into place during his service on the National Board. His involvement at the national level has included the Nominating committee, Consumer Awareness committee, and Membership committee. He was instrumental in the development of the PPFA Member Advantage Program that he started in his New England chapter and brought to an international membership package.

A Master Certified Picture Framer, and an instructor at the national and chapter level, Wilson is known for his generosity and sincere regard for sharing information, ideas and techniques. He is a member of the Framers Corner Moderator team and contributes to questions and topics on the Forum, offering valuable information and insight.

PPFA Service Award: Greg Norris, CPF, Huntington Hall of Frames, Huntington, WV
Owner of Huntington Hall of Frames for two decades, during his past 10 years with PPFA, Greg Norris has been active in his Tri-State Chapter, including service as president. A Certified Picture Framer, he currently serves as a Director on the PPFA Board. He has been an integral part of the Membership Committee, leading to the new PPFA Member Advantage program of discounts from PPFA suppliers for members. An active member of the Chapter Relations Committee, he has worked tirelessly on the Chapter reorganization. He is a moderator and Board liaison on the Framers Corner forum, one of the most valuable member resources.

PPFA Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award: Cathy Coggins, Needle Craft World, Kissimmee, Fla.
An active member and board member of the Southeast Chapter, Cathy Coggins was instrumental in organizing and coordinating last Fall’s Framefest in Florida, a huge success that required many hours of preparation. She worked tirelessly to include all framers from across the industry, and to provide a welcoming environment for vendors to display products and meet new and current clients. A member of the PPFA Membership Committee and Chapter Relations Committee, she has worked tirelessly on behalf of PPFA and her Chapter.

Awards were also presented to outgoing PPFA Board of Directors members: Immediate Past President John Pruitt, CPF; Treasurer Mike Drury, MCPF; and Director David Lantrip, MCPF, GCF; and former PPFA Executive Elaine Truman  received an award.

“Congratulations to all of our PPFA Award winners,” says PPFA President Robin Gentry, MCPF. “PPFA is made up of many caring individuals who give freely of their time and expertise to grow the picture framing profession. A big thanks to these very deserving award winners for all they do for our association and our profession.”

The Awards and Recognition Committee is chaired by Linda Wassell, MCPF; with Adela Davis, MCPF; Harry Gaston, CPF; Meghan MacMillan, MCPF; and Anthony Tremonto, and PPFA Board liaison Carol Graham.

Robert Gulf, owner of Knollwood Art Frames in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., framed the awards. Larson Juhl donated the frames and Museum Glass.

On the PMA Podcast: PMA President Gaby Mullinax on the new PMA

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PMApodcast_icon_sqIn January, during the PMA 2015 Conferences, Gabrielle Mullinax of Fullerton Photo became president of PMA – where in the past month, a new CEO has been installed and a new management company has been hired to help create fresh growth and opportunities for PMA and its members.  In this episode of the PMA Podcast, Gaby talks about the recent developments, and all the changes yet to come, in creating the new PMA. Listen or download at www.pmapodcast.org, or use the player below.

Panasonic, HP Indigo, Mylio, Adobe win Visionary Awards

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AIE logoThe debut Visionary Awards Reception on January 8 recognized innovation and excellence in imaging — with some surprising winners.

The AIE event enjoyed attendance by a wide range of imaging enthusiasts and executives at the end of CES’ 4th day at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Photographer Joe McNally gave a touching and informative discussion on the importance of preserving our pictures, illustrated with some great shots from his 30-year career. HP Senior Architect Bob Taylor showed Link, the company’s new foray into imaging interactivity.

The Winners:
Panasonic
won the Cameras & Capture category;
Sharing & Social Imaging went to Facebook;
Adobe led the votes in Software & Apps;
The victory in Printing & Output went to HP Indigo;
Google’s Project Tango was named the top Future Imaging Visionary technology.

Mylio founder and former Microsoft chief technical officer David Vaskevitch was recognized as an imaging visionary for his work on accessing, organizing, and protecting photographs with his start-up’s new software.

The other nominees included Ricoh, DJI, Instagram, Snapchat, Apple, Mylio, Athentech, Magisto, Mixbook, MediaClip, Artec Group, Jaunt, Oculus Rift, Orbeus, and Samsung.

The top technologies and products were voted on by the membership of the Association of Imaging Executives, a PMA member group.
Nominations for the next Visionary Awards will be open to the industry.
Voting will be limited to AIE members. (Join now!)

The AIE helps imaging executives and industry leaders make strategic connections to advance the profitable use of new imaging technologies.

 

PMA Conference report: Apps Show & Tell

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The AIE Show and Tell session spotlighted the latest mobile apps for outputing imaging products.
Host Hans Hartman called it “the most stressful and the most rewarding session” as he runs it like baseball: when one presenter is talking, the next is “on deck” and ready to go.
Among the software developers were:

Sworl’s Tom Riley presented a new service that is directly selling custom framed photos. The app analyze images for sufficient resolution, and simply does not show the options that will not print well. There are no filters or other adjustments except cropping. “The hardest part was making check-out easy for customers,” he added. “We spent a lot of time on that.” Prices start at $19.99 for a 4×6, framed and shipped. The second challenge was the “trust factor:” getting customers to believe in the quality of the frames, sight unseen. The good news: “40 percent of our customers have already reordered” — and they’ve only been in business a few months.

Sosocio’s Wouter van den Berg said his company first tried to monetize social imaging with advertising and sales on Facebook, but while “people were ordering books, it was not as much as we’d thought: we expected it would be millions a year, and it was tens of thousands.” Advertising on Facebook ate up the revenues. Now his team offers a white-label HTML5 app for photo book creation, and the “completion rate is more than 25 percent.”

Ecce Terram’s Frank Simon showed their photo gift creation software, and noted they now offer more product selections — including wallpaper customized with multiple personal images, and different-sized calendars.

“High conversion rates are not related to the number of features you have,” Taopix’ Jimmy Hennessy said. “It is about providing a smooth and simple user experience.” For white-label photo gift solutions such as that offered by his firm, “it is also important to keep it simple for the print providers to work on the back end to add new products.”

Pixfizz’ Stephen Thorpe said customers “don’t care if its Flash or HTML5 or whatever,” as what they want is “a seamless experience from email link to browser.” The company had started as an event photography service, but later realized software development was their true core competency. They launched the software in 2009, and now have  “three of the largest book producers by volume,” using their code, “all under NDA.”

tapsBook has taken the code from its original photo book app, and is now offering it as an software development kit that can monetize other photo apps, Sherwood Yao said. “If you have a photo app, our SDK is the fastest path to adding photo book creation on a mobile platform to any device.” He noted that book creation has to be much simpler, so that potential customers can create one in the down time such as when riding the subway.

Mediaclip has been offering photo merchandise manufacturers white-label tools since 2005, Philippe Gascon said. Most customers are primarily still desktop PC users, he said, “but mobile is growing.” And customers most want “continuity” so they begin a project on one platform and finish it on another. “The goal is to make solutions very simple.” Also, when one customer finishes an order, they can share it  with friends or family who can customize it for their own print order.

 

PMA President Gabrielle Mullinax receives PMDA Visionary Award

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PMDA Dinner Gaby and Joellyn GM

Joellyn Gray of PMDA presents PMA President Gaby Mullinax (right) with the PMDA Visionary Award.

The PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA) honored PMA President Gabrielle Mullinax with its Visionary Award at the 2015 PMDA International Awards Dinner on January 5, held at the XS Nightclub at Encore in Las Vegas, Nev.

One of the highest honors awarded in the imaging industry, the PMDA Visionary Award is bestowed on individuals whose work helps shape the photo business space and blaze a trail for others to follow.

“We are delighted that PMDA has chosen to recognize and honor our newly elected president of PMA with the Visionary Award. Gaby’s leadership has been vital to setting PMA’s path into the future, just as it has been in redefining the entire concept of the photo retail business,” said PMA CEO Georgia McCabe. “Now, as she takes on her most important role yet in leading PMA as President, it’s wonderful for her to be recognized as the true visionary she is. Gaby is so richly deserving of this award.”

“We’re proud to acknowledge Gaby as a true visionary in our industry,” said Jerry Grossman, Executive Director of PMDA. “Her creativity and spirit bring a certain spark that is admired by her peers, and her enthusiasm for innovation is something that we all should emulate. The PMDA is thrilled to recognize her contributions with our 2015 Visionary Award.”

Other PMDA honorees include Person of the Year Go Miyazaki, President and CEO of Fujifilm North America Corp.; Technical Achievement Award, Wataru Otani, Ricoh Co.; Lifetime Achievement, John Clouse, Nikon Inc.; Professional Photographer Award, Joe McNally.

Official Business Sessions: Elections, awards, and looking ahead

Special honors: Outgoing PMA President Bill Eklund (center) presented the Distinguished Service Award Nigel McNaught, Scott Brownstein, and Bob Hanson. Kirk Sidley was honored with the PMA Hall of Fame Award. (Distinguished Service Award recipient Brian Wood was unable to attend.)

Several exciting things took place during the Official Business Sessions held Monday and Tuesday at the PMA 2015 Conferences. Here’s a look at few of the special moments:

Special honors: Outgoing PMA President Bill Eklund (center) presented the Distinguished Service Award Nigel McNaught, Scott Brownstein, and Bob Hanson. Kirk Sidley was honored with the PMA Hall of Fame Award. (Distinguished Service Award recipient Brian Wood was unable to attend.)

Special honors: Outgoing PMA President Bill Eklund (center) presented the Distinguished Service Award to Nigel McNaught, Scott Brownstein, and Bob Hanson. Kirk Sidley was honored with the PMA Hall of Fame Award. (Distinguished Service Award recipient Brian Wood was unable to attend.)

New PMA President Gaby Mullinax receives the gavel from outgoing President Bill Eklund

New PMA President Gaby Mullinax receives the presidential gavel from outgoing President Bill Eklund

PMA President Gaby Mullinax delivers an inspirational speech.

PMA President Gaby Mullinax delivers an inspirational speech.

New PMA CEO Georgia McCabe talks about big changes to enable new growth for the organization.

New PMA CEO Georgia McCabe talks about big changes to enable new growth for the organization.

A group of current and past PMA board members pause for a picture. Left to right: Lisa Otto, Ken Strawbridge, John Segall, Rainer Schorcht, Gaby Mullinax, Don Spring, Kirk Sidley, Mark Klostermeyer, Jerry Sullivan, Allen Showalter, and Bill Eklund.

A group of current and past PMA board members pause for a picture. Left to right: Lisa Otto, Ken Strawbridge, John Segall, Rainer Schorcht, Gaby Mullinax, Don Spring, Kirk Sidley, Mark Klostermeyer, Jerry Sullivan, Allen Showalter, and Bill Eklund.

Communication failure: The real reason for declining camera sales

Heino Hilbig said a lack of communication is what's really behind declining camera sales.

– By guest PMA Newsline reporter Greg Dyro.

Heino Hilbig said a lack of communication is what's really behind declining camera sales.

Heino Hilbig said a lack of communication is what’s really behind declining camera sales. Photo by Greg Dyro.

Early Tuesday morning in a Bally’s Conference room was one of the most important discussions of the PMA 2015 Conferences. Speaker Heino Hilbig asked: Where do we stand today in the photo market? What are the reasons for this situation? Who can change the situation? Hilbig said applying mathematical formulas to extensive market research data, we can get a clear picture as to what is really going on.

We are all feeling helpless about the camera industry, Hilbig said.  Compact camera sales have plunged and DSLR sales plunged right behind them. But looking at these steep declines in sales against known sales models shows us that it’s not the two major things we feared. It’s not market saturation. It’s not smart phones. Therefore, it must be another reason.

The primary reason for these steep declines is “communication.” Look at photos of camera store windows and displays from the 1980s as compared to today. Nothing has changed in those windows. The market underwent an incredible destructive reorganization with digital and smart phones, yet we still are selling and making cameras in styles they way we did in 1980.  Its just one thing: “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.“  An eye opening presentation for sure.

PMA elects Gabrielle Mullinax as President for 2015-2016

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MullinaxGaby_2013In a history-making vote, PMA – The Worldwide Community of Imaging Associations, elected Gabrielle Mullinax, owner of Fullerton Photographics in Fullerton, California, as president for 2015-2016, marking the first time in its 91-year history that PMA has elected a female president.

Fifteen years ago, as an entrepreneurial photographer and young mother, Mullinax bought a minilab and joined the ranks of the photo industry. At the cusp of the digital age, this was a analog film processing lab without so much as a computer onsite. With a deep, inherent understanding of her target market – women like herself – Mullinax devised creative, unique promotional campaigns and new product innovations that proceeded to turn Fullerton Photographics into one of the most successful specialty photo stores in the United States. Not only did Gaby spur remarkable growth in her business, but she also transformed the landscape of the retail photo world overall. As a leader at PMA and a speaker for imaging industry organizations such as IPI, PRO and FotoSource, Mullinax generously shares her ideas with others, many of whom have adopted them and achieved similar success.

“As the new President of PMA, Gaby is bringing not only her knowledge and experience of this industry, but also her endless imagination, her undaunted spirit and her absolute refusal to fail,” said John Segall, of Lifetouch, Inc. “Her passion for this industry and its success is unparalleled, and her leadership is exactly what the industry needs.”

Outgoing President Bill Eklund of Sharp Photo in Eau Claire, Wis., said, “Gaby is taking over leadership of PMA at the perfect moment, as we are committing to revitalizing PMA just like she revitalized her business. She is the right person at the right time. I can’t think of a more qualified leader for the job.”

In her acceptance speech, Mullinax noted, “We are taking a fresh look at the possibilities. We are envisioning what PMA would be if it was a brand new organization, coming into existence now for the first time. We are using that picture to restructure, to build something new that serves the current and evolving needs of our members today, and of our future members.

“This is your PMA, and we invite you to join with us in reinventing it. As a unified industry, we will be a powerful force for change, growth and development,” she continued. “Together, we can help consumers realize and embrace the fact that pictures matter. We can do this, because we believe in photos. We believe in this industry. We believe in PMA.”

On a related note, in December, the Board of Directors of PMA appointed longtime industry veteran Georgia McCabe as CEO and Executive Director – the first time a woman has ever held this role. Read more here.