Photo retailer a catalyst for change

Staff members of Buckley's, which is benefiting from a new shop local initiative


Staff members of Buckley's, which is benefiting from a new shop local initiative

Staff members of Buckley’s show off their shop local sticker

— by Chris Wilkinson

Joanne Hall, owner of well known New Zealand photo retailer Donald Buckley Photographics has been a driving force behind her township’s goal to regain local goodwill and customers for its businesses.
The Love Gore – Shop Local initiative is part of a major program that’s designed to help retailers adapt to meet their market, build capability and re-engage the community with its stores and services. The initiative has seen support from across the commercial and consumer sectors — and led to an awareness that without support, town centers will be under threat.
Sponsored by Gore District Council and developed by town center strategists First Retail Group, the plan is to continue building on the program by listening to customers and helping retailers become ‘on radar’ with their marketplace.
Lorraine Nicolson, First Retail Group’s project lead, has been especially enthused by Gore’s early success with the strategy. “While we deliver these programs across the globe, Gore’s community has especially embraced this,” she said, citing the 130+ people that attended the recent launch.
Hall’s business knows a thing or two about adaptation and meeting its market. The much loved retailer has been developing the memories for generations of local residents and continues to diversify as it meets the needs to today’s consumer. The GoRetail program is helping reawaken people to stores like Donald Buckley Photographics, and the retailer is already seeing an increase in customers walking back through its doors.

Rhinos get camera implants



Here’s another example of how ubiquitous affordable cameras and image transmission can change our world:

How can wildlife protectors prevent poaching? Perhaps surveillance will ward off illegal hunters… But it’s not like installing a few cameras in your home or business —they can hardly place cameras everywhere an endangered animal might tread.

So instead, they’re putting cameras on the animal. Or, actually, in the animal — in the horn.

The non-profit organization Protect says their 24/7 real time poaching alarm and monitoring system for rhinos is the result of 15 years of “finding a way to effectively protect the species from poaching and bring it back from the precipice of extinction.” Rangers warned “a team of poachers could be just over that rise in the land butchering a rhino right now and we would have no idea it was happening. We need to know when and where the poachers are striking, as it happens. If we had some tool to alert us to a poaching event as it took place, we could be there in minutes, there would be no escaping for the poachers, no way to get horn or tusk or bone away; poaching would become impossible, we just need that tool.”

That tool turns out to be a camera and transmitter, one small enough to be embedded in the horn of the rhino, ensuring any illegal hunter can be spotted and identified.

The Protect RAPID (Real-time Anti Poaching Intelligence Device) also combines a heart rate monitor that triggers an alarm, and a GPS receiver “pinpointing the location within a few meters so that rangers can be on the scene via helicopter or truck within minutes.”

Here’s more information.



MMIE 609: Sales = vanity; Margin = sanity


MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #609 – July 21, 2015

Remembering back about three years, comments made by Australian industry guru John Swainston during a PMA session ring as true today as they did then:

“Top line sales may make you feel good and feed your vanity, but bottom line profits are your sanity check on reality.” John Swainston

The context was the then huge boom in unit volume growth of P&S cameras and DSLRs, but the observation that they were being sold at tiny or even negative margins for the retailer and were just tying up more and more working capital.

In his presentation, John outlined the areas of service opportunities for retailers, such as education, frames, albums, accessories, photobooks, etc., all of which tied up much less capital and provided real returns.


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
  • 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:

Print a picture book with a text



No app required: a photo book publisher is striving for the most simple print ordering system yet — just send an SMS text.

Mountain View-based SimplePrints says it has “trained professionals standing by 24/7 to create the perfect photo book for you. Simply send us a text message and a member from our photo curation staff will immediately get started on your book.”

It’s called Photo Magic but no, it’s not quite that automatic: you then have to upload photos to a website, answer a few questions about a theme, and approve an online proof prior to printing. “Once we get started you should have a draft within 30 minutes,” the company adds.

SimplePrints offers 8×8-inch softcover and hardcover photo books, starting at $15 for 20 pages. They print, assemble, and ship books from California and New Jersey.

Here’s more information.


Panasonic rangefinder captures 4k

panasonic gx8

panasonic gx8

The new GX8 from Panasonic features 4K video capture, and image stabilization in both body and lens.

Almost any type of vibration can be effectively suppressed with this innovative image stabilization system,” the company says. “As a result, you can get a clear handheld shots in low-lit situations.”

The rangefinder-style camera has a 20-megapixel sensor and a quad-core CPU that performs high-speed signal processing, the company says. It has an ISO of 25,600, burst shooting at 8 fps, and 30 fps 8-megapixel stills. There’s a tilting 3-inch display, WiFi, and NFC.

The mirrorless interchangeable lens camera has a magnesium allow body with a splash- and dust-proof rugged design, Panasonic adds.

It’s $1199 for the camera body.



The FZ300 is “splash- and dust-proof camera for sports, outdoor and events,” Panasonic says, and packs a 24x optical zoom that has an F2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range.

The $600 compact captures 4K video and 12-megapixel stills.


Apple updates its “Camera” — iPod Touch



Most people take photos with their phones, the iPhone is by many measures the world’s most popular camera, yada yada…

So why doesn’t Apple make a camera?

As we’ve pointed before, it kinda does: the iPod Touch is an affordable smart camera, one that offers many features that compact “standalone” cameras do not.

And now Apple has upgraded the camera components in its media player, for the first time in 3 years: from a 5-megapixel sensor to 8, as well as a faster processor than boosts many imaging functions. The Touch can capture time-lapse and slow-motion video, as well as panoramas and burst still photos. There’s even a motion coprocessor which can be used for smoother video capture.

It’s a lot of camera for just $199 — especially as it provides all the functions of an iPhone (except for that making calls part*). That includes access to popular imaging apps such as Instagram, and the primary method for sharing and viewing photos, Facebook — which cameras can’t match — as well as a 4-inch touchscreen.

(* Although Apple points out “Three times faster WiFi lets customers stay in touch with friends and family through FaceTime calls.”)

Output Options: custom camera, magic mug

chaes 5

chaes 5

Mugs with pictures on ’em are old-hat — or are they? And where else can you put a photo… Howabout on your camera?

Chase’s Cameras will sell you a camera customized with your photo. No, they’re not a new camera manufacturer — instead they are taking a Canon 5d Mark III and embedding an image in the case.

The company says their super-bright ultraviolet LED “made with gallium nitride nanoscale structures…makes it possible to print on all types of material, even very thin, heat sensitive, or highly flammable material. More than just a pretty camera, the technology used for this unique customization opens the door to commercial customization of all types.”

Here’s more information.



Meanwhile, Mailpix has updated the novelty mug with a novel twist: an image that appears only when the mug is filled.

“Our Black Magic Mug magically changes when you add a hot liquid, so what may appear to be an ordinary black mug magically shows your photos and personalized greeting when in use,” the company says. “Create a custom mug that will make you feel like a kid again each morning when you enjoy your tea or coffee. Amaze friends and family and show off your Black Magic Photo Mug again and again!”

The 11-ounce ceramic mug is $25.

Here’s more information.

Pixelmator gets touchy



The Lithuanian developers behind Pixelmator have added a cool new feature to the iOS version of their photo editor: Dynamic Touch.

“When you touch the screen with your finger, Dynamic Touch detects the finger surface area in contact with the screen and automatically adjusts the brush size when the surface area changes,” the company says. “Touch the screen with the tip of your finger to create thin strokes and use a larger finger surface area for thicker lines. This makes retouching images faster and more precise.” The new technique applies to all the app’s Retouch tools.

The mobile version also now adds the image repairing algorithm recently introduced to the desktop software.

Instagram increases resolution

instagam home screen

instagam home screen

Photo sharing service Instagram has always been optimized for mobile image viewing, first with 612-pixel square images, then up to a whopping 640.

Now it’s taken the leap to 1080-pixel images (still square) and says that while the images will look better, the change will barely effect the site’s performance or users’ data usage.

Despite the pixel count going from less than half a megapixel to more than 1, the file size has not doubled, but rose only from less than 100kb to just 110kb, Petapixel reports.


Palette offers accessory controllers for photo editing



Tired of editing photos with keyboards, mice, or touchpads? Now you can snap together modular sliders, dials and buttons to create a controller customized for your workflow.

Developer Palette says it provides “tactility and precision at your finger tips.” Designed particularly for Lightroom and Photoshop, it lets you assign built-in functions to individual magnetically connected controlers. You can “get direct control through your fingertips as you adjust a range and quickly feel where you’ve left off without having to look down.”

Pricing starts at $199.

Here’s more information.

Here’s a demo video.