Stay off those train tracks!



The photo ain’t worth it: Believe it or not, people *die* every year from purposely standing in front of an onrushing train.
…Okay, they were just posing for a photo — on a train track.
On which a train arrived. At full speed.

As The Online Photographer reported earlier this year, “on January 18th, in Auburn, Washington State, a 42-year-old Las Vegas man was struck and killed by an Amtrak Cascades passenger train traveling from Portland to Seattle. What was he doing on the tracks? You guessed it — posing for his girlfriend, who was taking pictures of him.”

• In 2012, TOP reports, a 52-year-old California high school photography teacher was killed on the train tracks. “She was photographing one train approaching her and was struck by another coming the other way. She must have assumed that the horns and ground vibration she heard were coming from the train in front of her, not another one behind her.”

More than 900 people were injured or killed while trespassing on railroad property in the U.S. just last year alone, according to Federal Railroad Administration statistics.

Now the Union Pacific Railroad is officially “urging professional photographers to refrain from taking photographs of sports teams, high school seniors, wedding parties and other subjects on or near train tracks or trestles.”

“You never know when a train will come along,” says Union Pacific’s director of public safety, and so “we want to remind photographers that walking on or near railroad tracks is extremely dangerous.”

Want to safely and legally access a site? Look here.

Business success: Why predict failure?

Business Success Logo

Business Success LogoIt’s too easy to be a pessimist. But while pessimists fail, at least they were right about that impending lack of success.

In this week’s Business Success article, Alan C. Fox argues that it’s better to better to overcome your possible pessimism, and succeed in spite of it. Fox is the author of People Tools for Business: 5o Strategies for Building Success, Creating Wealth, and Finding Happines.

Alan C. Fox

Alan C. Fox

I’d Rather Succeed Than Be Right
By Alan C. Fox

“I’d rather be right then be president,” said former US Congressman and Secretary of State Henry Clay, Sr. (1777–1852). And right he was. The senator from Kentucky ran for president three times during his illustrious political career, and lost every time.

Many of us, perhaps most, often predict our own failure.  “I can’t climb that mountain.”  “My speech will be terrible.”  “I don’t suppose you’d like to go out with me.”

Why? Simply because it is much easier to fulfill a prediction of failure than it is to actually succeed.

But wouldn’t you rather predict success ten times, succeed five times, and be “wrong” in half of your predictions than predict failure all ten times and be entirely correct?

I for one would rather succeed.

I’ve used this attitude for most of my career. While I’m not always right, I am always confident.  And I end up succeeding a large percentage of the time.

A Sporting Chance
Heck, the highest major league career batting average of all time belongs to Ty Cobb.  His lifetime batting average was .366 (1905-28).  This means that out of 1,000 at bats, Ty Cobb — one of the best hitters of all time — failed to get a hit 634 times out of every 1,000 attempts.

And Detroit Lions quarterback Bobby Layne is reported to have said, “I’ve never lost a football game:  Sometimes my team was behind when the clock ran out.”

No one wins all the time, but you are far more likely to succeed if you go into your next interview (or deal, hearing, or review) anticipating your success.

Early in my career my business partner Harvey and I negotiated for eighteen months to buy an apartment complex.  Several times I told Harvey to give up, but he persisted.  After a year and a half, the seller finally agreed to accept our offer, and the transaction was later completed.  I must admit I learned something from Harvey: to work hard and expect success.  Harvey’s confidence was never shaken, and he had refused to take “no” for an answer.

In a 2013 Los Angeles Times interview, the great orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache (whose clients include Kobe Bryant, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone) was asked if he ever got nervous. “No,” he said, adding he always feels confident that he can solve any problem that arises.

So rather than go with Henry Clay’s approach, I’d rather follow the Queen’s advice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

“There’s no use trying,” Alice said.  “One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” replied the Queen.  “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day.  Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

So why not tell yourself that you can do it—that you will succeed, despite the odds or obstacles?

Impossible?  Not at all.  And before breakfast is a good time to be optimistic.
Martin Luther King, Jr. had an impossible dream, and look what he accomplished.
Henry Clay, Sr., on the other hand, ended up being right—he lost all three of his campaigns for president in 1824, 1832, and 1844.
• Alan Fox is the president of ACF Property Management, Inc, and author of The New York Times bestseller People Tools: 54 Strategies for Building Relationships, Creating Joy, and Embracing Prosperity.  Fox is also the founder, editor, and publisher of the Rattle literary magazine, and he sits on the board of directors of several non-profit foundations. Visit

Focus on: Paul Boniface, Scone Digital Imaging

Paul & Margaret Boniface IMG_9528
Paul & Margaret Boniface IMG_9528

Paul and Margaret Boniface

Paul Boniface of Scone Digital Imaging, Scone, Australia, is a very interesting character, born and bred in country New South Wales, in Scone, a town in the Upper Hunter Shire in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, about 4 hours from Sydney. Scone is known as the horse capital of Australia; the regional thoroughbred industry is said to be second only to Kentucky in size and value.

Paul went to Scone Rural School and left when he was sixteen, starting work in a furniture store, installing televisions and laying carpet. It wasn’t long before he joined his Dad, who had a bakery from 1965 and Paul became a baker. The Boniface family delivered bread to houses in three horse drawn bread carts. Paul was driving it himself up until 1983. Proudly displaying the sign ‘Boniface & Son ‘Bonny’ Bread & Cakes,’ they were the last commercial bread carts delivering to households in New South Wales.

In 1992, one of his daughters decided to leave her job in Canberra and come home, so Paul bought two businesses in Scone that had gone broke, a color copy shop and a photo shop. He bought all the equipment and set up a business to work with his daughter — who promptly decided she had made a mistake. That’s how Scone Instant Images began. Paul was running the bakery and the small photo business with one staff member, at a time when they would send photos away to be developed — remember the days when Kodak would pick up the bag and process them and bring them back!

In 1993, he sold the bakery and decided to take a year off and travel overseas. He had a mate who wanted a business but had no money, so Paul went to the bank and worked out a way to have the holiday and his mate take on the business. When he got back from his trip, he was told “you can have it back, mate, it’s too bloody hard!”

He went on from then and built the business up, with a name change to Scone Digital Imaging. In 1997, he moved the shop into an old country store, opposite the Post Office, right in the middle of town — a perfect location. The business has gone through lots of industry changes but churns away, doing as much in-store as possible, large format printing, mugs etc.

Semi-retired, living in a unit overlooking the beach, Paul looks after the Scone business remotely; going in as required for large projects but is happy to leave the day-to-day running to his two staff who manage quite well without him! In fact he has always been able to have time out of the business because he trained his staff to run the business as if it was their own, which gave them confidence and experience. One of his greatest pleasures is the number of people who stop him to say how wonderful his staff are… an acknowledgement that “service beats price every time”.

There is no doubting Paul’s commitment to PMA Australia and PMAI; he attributes his business success and longevity to belonging to an Industry Association and has attended every Australian conference; and gone to the USA Convention for the past 15 years – listening, learning, networking and sharing. It’s where he gets ideas and early knowledge about what’s ahead; so he can do something different and keep moving with the times. Along with Tim Jones, Paul holds the record for attending the most conferences. As part of Kodak he won several trips and also did training courses with them.

He is also still involved with Leading Edge, and was one of the original members of the buying group, and helps out in an advisory capacity.

In 2000 Paul had a heart attack whilst in training for a Hockey Championship, and then was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2005 when he was told to “get his affairs in order”. For a non-smoker, this was a reality check and it is testament to his strength that he got through this period, albeit affected by radiation treatment which leaves him without saliva glands, and more recently with a complete new set of teeth! Definitely the most “sparkling” man in town! He’s okay, he is getting on with life, living for the day and enjoying it to the max. He is good for a laugh!

He has time to run on the beach, help out with photography classes at community events and enjoy his hobby of taking photographs, winning a prize at the 2012 Scone Art Show for a photograph he named “Reflections”. Paul has also been playing Hockey locally for many years, now as a striker, and for the past 12 years has been going away to the Australian Masters Hockey.

Married to Margaret for 15 years, both have blended their families for the complete connection. They have 6 children (4 daughters and 2 sons) and 12 grandchildren. There will be no handing over of the keys to the business to any of them though – they are widespread, independent and happy with what they are doing.

Paul is a “keeper” – a nice guy you would want on your side if you were in trouble, fighting a battle, or simply trying to win a game!

 By Barbara Bryan, PMA Australia

On the PMA Podcast: Fotofast makes the right move


Just three years after a major move to a new storefront location, Brisbane, Australia’s fotofast moved again, having watched its bottom line disappear in what should have been a prime location. A little more than a month after this latest move, Phil Gresham, a former DIMA president, joins us on the PMA Podcast to talk about what the new location has delivered in terms of costs, clients and profits (hooray!), and the restructuring that was required. You’ve got to hear what his rental costs were in the old location!

Listen in at, or use the player below. And be sure to look for an article about Phil and his new shop in the upcoming issue of PMA Magazine.

Flying cameras get FAA approval

parrot bebopdrone

mit drone light

The Federal Aviation Administration is now permitting the use of camera-equipped drones on movie sets. It’s hopefully a first step in lightening regulations on all pros and hobbyists who want to shoot stills or video from their quadcopter.

The Consumer Electronics Association says the FAA decision “is an important milestone as the agency develops rules to allow unmanned aircraft to operate safely in U.S. airspace. We support the FAA’s action and related guidance that provides a model for other private businesses seeking approval to operate drones in populated areas under controlled environments.”

The devices are used in aerial coverage for sports and real estate, assistance in search and rescue and disaster relief missions, and “providing novel new camera angles to capture professional and personal video footage,” the CEA adds.  “The sky is the limit.”

CEA forecasts the global market for consumer drones will approach $300 million by 2018 (just under a million units).

Business Success: Don’t stop now!

Business Success Logo

Business Success LogoWhatever goals we promise ourselves we’ll achieve, the reality is that the outcome hinges only on our own sustained effort.

In this week’s Business Success advice article, Eisen Marketing Group president Rodger Roeser lays out the steps you need to succeed in your Marketing — or pretty much anything else, for that matter.

Success or Failure in your Marketing Activities

As we near the end of another year we see what became of our well-intentioned efforts to lose weight, get in to better shape, quit smoking, or stay more in touch with family. Is it too early to think of new resolutions for next year?

Rodger Roeser, APR

Rodger Roeser, APR

Resolutions are similar with marketing and public relations: Regardless of the economy, marketing activities are not flash-in-the-pan, quick-fix options, but rather long-term, sustained programs and campaigns that actually yield positive results.

Experts will tell you that the reason most resolutions fail is because they involve sustained commitment and effort. Also, they are often unrealistic in nature – so folks give up altogether. Similarly, good public relations and marketing activities take time and are not a quick fix to your business ills. Finding good publicity angles, creating image and article opportunities, reaching out and sharing that company story or profile — all this takes time, patience and stick-to-it-iveness.

It also takes time and effort to achieve realistic results. One push-up will not make you thin or build your chest. All too often, I see business executives simply increasing sales numbers for no apparent reason except that Excel allows them to plug in a 25 percent in widget sales. It seems solid research and market realities have given way to just plugging in numbers and storming the gates. This is bad practice, and leads to frustration and a lack of business clarity and focus among the employees. Don’t be that executive who says say you want X amount of articles in the newspaper, or any number that appears to be pulled out of thin air, and when those numbers aren’t hit, you’re disappointed. These types of business mistakes are not productive, and surely not good for morale.

A good marketing executive or agency can offer much better and more realistic guidance for these types of numbers, and advise the best ways to achieve those goals. And, like a good personal trainer, help keep you motivated and on track.

Here are four simple steps for your future successful marketing.

1. Get a Plan!

If you don’t have a marketing or marketing communications plan, get one. Do yourself and your business a favor: hire a good firm, and get a plan developed. The investment of just a few thousand dollars may be the best investment you make this entire year. The plan will have realistic goals with realistic prices (You do yourself no favors when you believe you can do a national advertising campaign for $500). A good plan will lay out strategies, tactics, timelines, goals and budgets that should be very easy to follow. The firm should be able to implement the plan, or work with you to share in the implementation duties.

If you don’t have a plan, this is the first and most important step you can take for your business.

2. Stop with the “Magic Bullet”

We all play Monday morning quarterback: surely the coach likely knows more about football than most, but it doesn’t stop people from wanting to share their “ideas.” Same holds true for marketing – rarely are folks short on “ideas.”

Recently it seems there is this great new invention that will revolutionize marketing as we know it and cause all other forms of marketing to wither and die:. Social media. For some reason, all the Monday morning marketers are jumping on the social media bandwagon and putting up any manner of information on Facebook, Twitter, and others – and waiting for the sales to roll in.

While social media and having a good social media plan is important, it is not THE answer. It certainly can be integrated into an overall marketing plan, and blogging and tweeting and friending and updating are all smart – just be realistic and be smart about it. If I ever again hear, “We’re not going to do much marketing this year, because we have a blog now” — I may have to send out the Marketing Police.

3. Keep at It

Regardless of whether your marketing program is grand or modest, continue to work it. Purchase media — billboards are at great prices, and direct mail is a simple, cost effective way to stay in touch and further solidify the brand.

While you must be smart and scrutinize every dollar invested, now is not the time to stop. I had a client that, for all intents and purposes, stopped their proactive marketing outreach months earlier — and now, they have no pipeline, no leads, and no revenue. They’re lack of consistency in their outreach has likely caused yet another business to go under.

Invest wisely, be proactive, and keep at it. Again, a good agency is your best friend here.

4. Change up the Routine

Just like working out, changing things up a bit can yield some quick and dramatic results. Now may be an excellent time to do something different – perhaps an event, a new sponsorship, a cause-marketing initiative, or a podcast. Properly positioned and integrated, new programs can attract entirely new segments of consumers or prospective business partners in a fresh way.

When is the last time you wrote a thought leadership article, or submitted an opinion piece? Take a look at where you may have some holes and fill them; see where the opportunities may exist, and capitalize on them.

Again, if you don’t know all the opportunities you may have, consult an agency. (There is also a great online radio show called “That Marketing Show” that has a top marketing genius as a guest each week, sharing one great tip and idea after another.)

By taking some simple and proactive steps, and hiring an affordable yet quality expert or agency, businesses can look forward to bright future. Now is the time to get out there, stay focused and keep aggressive. Ideas and options are a good thing. Go make some waves.

Rodger Roeser, APR, is the president and owner of Eisen Marketing Group, Northern Kentucky’s largest fully integrated public relations firm. Roeser served as the 2005 president of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. He is an accomplished and award winning print and broadcast journalist, and currently hosts Business Focus, an online broadcast news magazine.

MMIE 573: Join this campaign

mmie 573 A

mmie 573 AMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #573 – September 23, 2014

Mom and apple pie. Gotta love ‘em both (although mom’s lemon pie is to die for, and her raspberry pie . . . sorry . . . back to the subject at hand). A number of industry groups have come together to create a pretty much ready-to-go marketing campaign for you, with free marketing materials, to make young mothers more aware of the benefits of getting (more) involved in taking family pictures.

That means not only printing more photos and creating photo products, but also investing in cameras and accessories.

The theme of the campaign is “Life Is Crazy: Hold on to the Highlights.”

The graphics are eye-catching, as well they should be, and the digital toolkit includes art files for posters, web ads, images for your site, and more. Higher res materials also are available.

There’s space in the artwork for your store logo.

Also part of the kit is staff education materials to ensure everyone is on message.

The campaign is the brainchild of a consortium of US photo industry companies and groups, including PMDA, CEA, and Innovations In Photo Imaging (IIPI), with support from PMA, which recognized sales in certain categories are declining, and most consumers wish they could take better pictures and make tangible printed products.

So, by aiming at Gen X and Y moms, the expectation is . . . you guessed it . . . increased sales, because children and family are “strong drivers” for investment in all things photographic. On top of that, these mums have the disposable income.

This “life is crazy” theme is an interesting one. The IIPI says the theme “taps mom’s feeling that life is racing by. The campaign reminds them that they need to stop, enjoy, capture, and hold on to the wonderful (crazy) moments of their lives (their children’s lives).

In addition to the artwork, the digital kit includes some limited content to educate these moms about what they need to take better photos, and do more with them – print and make photo products.

There’s a strong social media component to the campaign, as might be expected.

Delightfully, the toolkit lets you extend the concept to other audiences – “life is cool” and “life is amazing” are just two of the suggestions.

Interested? Contact Karly Davis at the Consumer Electronics Association.

So what’s your idea?

• 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.

• The archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange contain more than 1,000 marketing ideas as a resource for you:

On the PMA Podcast: Photographers succeeding with social media


How can professional photographers and other businesses benefit more from social media? WiFi developer Eyefi commissioned Mark Fidelman to study the work of the top 30 photographers on social media, how they marketed themselves, and how it bettered their business.

In this episode of The PMA Podcast, Fidelman, the founder  of Evolvesinc, explains the methodology used, and how they chose the top 30 pro shooters.

Eyefi’s study “identifies the photographers that are influencing the vast online community of both amateur and professional photographers,” the company says. The top 30 most socially influential photographers with the greatest online impact and engagement are “influential photographers encouraging people to explore photography in new ways, take great photos and share them with the world,” the company says.

Fidelman, a regular on Forbes’ website, also wrote here on what he learned about photography while conducting the survey.

a href=””>You can download the podcast here, or listen in through the built-in player below.

Focus on: Miranda Smith, Gallery 360

Miranda Smith
Miranda Smith

Miranda Smith

Miranda Smith has worked on a sheep ranch, at a zoo, and in retail, but has found her niche as a custom picture framer and as owner and director of Gallery 360 in Perth, Australia.

One of Australia’s largest independent framers of prints, photographs, artworks, documents, and objects, and a provider of wholesale framing for retailers and photographers, Gallery 360 is the Australian license holder for the Diasec Acrylic mounting process for photographic images. Fujiflex, metallic photos, photo rag, cibachrome and all other photo papers are suited to the process, which creates a durable bond between a print or transparency and high-quality acrylic glass, without smears or blisters. Photographs and digital images up to 2 x 3 metres can be mounted without borders, eliminating the need for a traditional picture frame. According to Miranda, Diasec is the preferred mounting method for many of the world’s top fine art photographers and galleries.

The gallery also has a digital wide-format printer, capable of printing on media up to 42 inches wide; and uses long lasting pigment ink.

Miranda joined the Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) – a PMA member association – while an employee of the Gallery. “Having been a member of various professional associations throughout my career, I know the importance and value of belonging to a respected industry association,” she says. “The education and networking possibilities are extremely useful in growing our business. Clients definitely feel confident when passing their items to us, when they see our PPFA membership.”

She attended the PPFA 2010 Convention in Anaheim, held in conjunction with the PMA Convention.  “I was amazed at the variety and quality of the speakers,” she says.  “I left the event with the mixed feeling of a ‘newbie’ – delighted at all the information I had picked up from classes, and frustrated that I ran out of time to attend all the classes I wanted.” She has attended every year since her first Convention.

In 2009, Miranda joined the committee of the Australia/New Zealand PPFA Chapter and established regular education and networking evenings for other PPFA members in her State. In 2010 she became National Vice-Chair, and held this position for three years. She remains a committee member.  “You only get out of the Association, what you put in, so I try to ensure interesting events occur and make contributions to newsletters,” she says.

Miranda became a PPFA Certified Picture Framer (CPF) in 2011. “Studying for the CPF exam was absolutely the best way for me to learn the tried and tested methods of providing the best framing techniques and materials for my clients”, she says. “It increased my passion for the industry and my thirst to constantly learn more. I’m the first and only CPF in Western Australia. My customers like to learn that I have this certification and as word got around, I got lots of referrals because of this.”

The Gallery 360 team has been together for a long time; over 12 of the staff has been working there for 25 to 30 years. The front gallery team is generally separate from the production team. “This enables everyone to concentrate either on sales or production and be trained to a high level in their specialist area,” she explains. “Our sales team does spend some training time in the production area, to gain an understanding of the time and effort required to produce the work.”

Framing services are complemented by a collection of original artworks by local artists, reproductions, decorative wall art, mirrors and other specialized art services, including an art consultancy and valuation service for the corporate and residential market. Gallery 360 worked on the supply and installation of artwork and digital wallpaper at the Engineering faculty at Edith Cowan University in Perth. Artists were commissioned to produce original work, which the gallery staff combined with a range of canvas images used throughout the faculty’s offices, corridors and public areas.

Over the years, the gallery has framed many unusual items. “One of our clients is an entomologist and we framed an active termites nest – that’s a challenge,” Miranda says. “We did the measurements offsite as we did not want termites in our moulding stock!”

Texas court strikes down ‘improper photography’ statute



Yes, a kind of picture-taking was against the law in Texas…
“Improper photography” had been defined as arousing photography taken without consent. Yes, it was perhaps primarily first meant to simply stop peeping toms and such scofflaws. But vague wording meant enforcement could have overreached, and it could have been a dangerous precedent. Thankfully it’s been struck down.

Part of the Court’s reasoning:
“A statute is likely to be found overbroad if the criminal prohibition it creates is of “alarming breadth.” Such is the case with the current statute, the breadth of which has been accurately characterized as “breathtaking.” The statutory provision at issue is extremely broad, applying to any non-consensual photograph, occurring anywhere, as long as the actor has an intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire. This statute could easily be applied to an entertainment reporter who takes a photograph of an attractive celebrity on a public street. But the statute operates unconstitutionally even if applied to someone who takes purely public photographs of another for personal reasons with the requisite intent.”

The full story is here — written by the law professor who co-wrote the legal brief in the court case.