Coming soon: The new PMA Podcast

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PMAlogo_CMYK_smallI’m excited to announce that we will be launching the new PMA Podcast in September!MIME Logo PMAN

The PMA Podcast is the podcast for anyone whose business revolves around imaging and pictures. We’ll cover topics like increasing sales, new imaging technology, the latest in picture framing, business management tips, advances in photo output, high volume photography, and much more. Designed for members of PMA and its international community of imaging associations — AIE, DIMA, NAPET, PPFA, PSPA, and SPAA — the PMA Podcast is your weekly source of information to help you grow your business.

If you’re a fan of the DIMAcast or the AIE Imaging Executive podcast, you’ll find all the great content you’re used to — including our friend Bill McCurry‘s monthly McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange podcast and transcripts — and lots more, now all in one place, on the PMA Podcast.

Look for the first episode on September 8, followed by a great new interview every week.

PMA Australia’s Educational Photo Expo in Brisbane: A perspective

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Photo Expo 2014 BannerPMA Australia had a smashing success with its first Educational Photo Expo, sponsored by Canon and Nikon. This event, held over the weekend in Brisbane, drew large crowds and lots of excitement. On Sept. 6, a second event will be held in Melbourne. Here’s a look at the Brisbane expo, from the perspective of speaker John Swainston:

“More than 300 Brisbane folk braved wet and windy weather to join Australia’s PMA team and some committed exhibitors from the leading camera and accessory brands. As a speaker at many trade events for PMA over the past 30 years this was the first in Australia that embraced consumers exclusively  in such an intimate way. My topic was “All you need to know about selecting the right gear for your next travel adventure.” We took our attendees through iPhoneography, Point & Shoot, Mirrorless, All-in-one Tamron megazoom SLR photography and ‘The Works’ – f/2.8 glass where photography is the goal of the trip. What impressed me was the deep knowledge of so many attendees. But for many others, they had come to this PMA event because even with the Internet and good dealers locally, they were not getting the broad answers they needed to properly assess what would work for them. As we’ve seen at past International PMA events, and indeed PRO get-togethers in the US,  Camera House conferences in Australia, and I dare say Ringfoto member events in Germany, it’s this quest for knowledge that specialty retailers need to ramp up, to engage consumers who want to progress their image making, but don’t quite have the confidence to do it on their own. Photo Education, improved print services in many new forms were all high on the list of attendee priorities.pma_educational_pho#172C361

I didn’t get to see enough of the other presentations to be able to comment more broadly, except the fine talk on creating personal hard copy recipe books through Photo Book publishing, presented by the Momento Australia team. I loved that the illustrations were by Australian Pro photographer Penelope Beveridge, the award-winning and highly respected food and Photo Art photographer. The combination of inspiring images with useful how-to from Momento meant the audience found their way through perceived obstacles and were likely to go out and use the service. The ever present former DIMA president Phil Gresham was there presenting Fotofast’s latest services, as was the venerable Streets Imaging pro lab group.

The new Fujifilm tabletop print machine at a very affordable price, offering 8 inch paper roll print abilities attracted heaps of interest, as it opens up the world of Sweep Panorama prints from iPhone and other Smartphones, not to forget conventional digital cameras. This will work for even the smallest of Specialist retailers. Pro photographers interested in expanding their range of customer services could also use this as a custom print device based out of their studios. I came away with a strong impression that print and film to digital services  are likely to see significant improvements in the next decade as baby boomers start on consolidating their life’s images across various media.

Canon, Fujifilm and Olympus were very evident with their Interchangeable camera systems, while Nikon was represented in various retailer exhibitors, most notably Ted’s. Many people I talked with were coming from DSLR photography and especially interested in weight reduction in their future photography, as well as being less obtrusive. Vendors were able to show just how compact today’s Mirrorless offerings are, as well as demonstrate outstanding image quality and affordability.

While I can’t say I saw every aspect of the day, the overwhelming impression was one of keen excitement, exhibitors who were happy with the quality of the attendees and their interest level, as well as an affordable cost to exhibit. If resources and funds had been more extensive, a fuller PR effort might have produced even higher numbers and a few pro attendees, through that was not the primary audience. As a first effort, pretty darn good.

Next up it’s Melbourne, on Saturday September 6 at Victoria University. Another great group of speakers; my particular pick will be Canon Australia’s Jay Collier, with whom I share an August birthday. His wildlife images are something to behold. For my own part I look forward to engaging with the many new customers to more advanced photography, for whom such events are a wonderful, uncomplicated way to engage with contemporary image making, whether from a Smartphone or an advanced full frame DSLR.

John Swainston has been an active member of the photo industry for more than 4 decades, speaking widely to camera clubs and industry meetings around the world. He is a Senior Vice President at DayMen, parent company for the Lowepro & JOBY brands. He is a passionate photographer.

Free sales analytics for retailers

Square Analytics

Square Analytics

Would you like to know more about your business’ sales patterns — without paying a premium for the intel? Transaction services company Square is offering small businesses a suite of analytics tools to help sellers track how their business is performing in real-time, Silicon Beat reports.

The service is free for those using Square’s point-of-sale system. “Expensive annual fees, tedious set-up processes, and irrelevant, generalized reports have traditionally excluded small business owners from useful information available to larger merchants,” the company says.

The analytics tools show merchants their top-selling items and categories, what time of day is the most profitable — including hour by hour trends — and how their business is performing compared to industry averages in real-time, according to the company.

There’s more information here.

 

Stereo Daguerreotypes in New Zealand for World Photo Day

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At Snapshot Cameras in New Zealand, they celebrated World Photo Day in style. Because the 175th anniversary of photography coincided with the 150th anniversary of the city of Hamilton, the store owners thought it fitting to invite their local contemporary Daguerreotypist to help them celebrate.

The store first dates back to 1928, and has been owned by the Boswell family since 1946.

Photo Organizer Jill Boswell reports Alan Bekhuis from Cased Images created a stereo image from two daguerreotypes, for which each silver-coated copper plate must be brought to a high mirror polish and sensitized to light with iodine and bromine. The plate is then exposed in the camera and developed over heated mercury to reveal the latent image.  “Exposed plates must be developed within a very short time of exposure so our guest brought his mobile darkroom, complete with fume cupboard, along on the day to both prepare and to develop the plates.”

boswellSnapshot Cameras also provided in store displays of antique and classic cameras, a reproduction of the first folding whole plate camera, and some images captured using older techniques, Boswell adds.

Sam Boswell produced a video of the day which can be viewed here.

Retailers: Survive Amazon’s Fire

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amazon firefly“For traditional retailers, Amazon has long been the 800-pound gorilla in the room,” comments John Haro, CTO of mobile wallet management company Vibes. He wrote at TechCrunch about the new threat from Amazon’s Fire phone, and the Firefly software which recognizes products purchasable on Amazon.

“Showrooming emerged as early as 2011, when Amazon offered consumers up to $15 off to price check items in-store,” he adds. “Clearly, the purpose of both Firefly and Amazon Wallet are to make it even easier for consumers to purchase items from the e-commerce giant.”

What can you do to fend off the Fire? Haro details tactics such as:

1. Leverage existing mobile wallet apps

2. Get onto the mobile lock screen

3. Create a mobile loyalty program

Here is the full article.

 

MIT develops vision-correcting displays

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Are you squinting at your phone? I am, and I’m tired of it. Fortunately new technology could solve the issue not just with bigger fonts, but with an overlay screen that could tailor every device to your own individual optical prescription.

MIT Media Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley have developed a new display technology that automatically corrects for vision defects — no glasses (or contact lenses) required, MIT reports. “The technique could lead to dashboard-mounted GPS displays that farsighted drivers can consult without putting their glasses on, or electronic readers that eliminate the need for reading glasses, among other applications.”

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The solution “basically puts the glasses on the display, rather than on your head,” the chief scientist behind it says. “It will not be able to help you see the rest of the world more sharply, but today, we spend a huge portion of our time interacting with the digital world.”

The display is a variation on a glasses-free 3D technology, and projects slightly different images to different parts of the viewer’s pupil. “A vision defect is a mismatch between the eye’s focal distance — the range at which it can actually bring objects into focus — and the distance of the object it’s trying to focus on,” MIT says. “Essentially, the new display simulates an image at the correct focal distance — somewhere between the display and the viewer’s eye.”

MIT corrects vision 3

The full story is here.

 

 

Printicular provides 4 million prints

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More than four million prints have been made from mobile phones using the Printicular apps, developer MEA Mobile reports. “Millions of prints means millions of smiles,” the company says.

The free Printicular apps let you order prints from a mobile that is picked up at Walgreens in the USA, or for delivered to your home worldwide.

Printicular “shows that physical prints are still the best way to turn digital images into the memories people want to cherish,” the company says. “Printicular now generates over a quarter of a million prints a month, and growing.”

The company also released new PhotoCard and Poster printing apps.

PMA refines mission statement, sets new goals

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PMAlogo_CMYK_smallThe Board of Directors of PMA has refined the PMA mission statement and set new objectives for member services, resources, and support. The new mission statement, which expands on the previous mission, “Promote the growth of the imaging industry,” now details specific areas of focus:

“Evolve the imaging business community worldwide by promoting innovation, marketing, technology, and passion for photography.”

The refined mission statement arose from the work of a committee comprised of key industry members: Gaby Mullinax of Fullerton Photographics in Fullerton, Calif.; Marsha Phillips of F-11 Photographic Supplies in Bozeman, Mont.; Jerry Sullivan of Precision Camera in Austin, Texas; and chaired by PMA past-president Allen Showalter of King Photo/Showalter Imaging Group in Harrisonburg, Va.

Along with the refined mission statement come a number of plans for new, additional ways to help PMA members grow their businesses and to advance the industry as a whole.

Included are the continuation of the consumer facing Big Photo Show in various formats; the development of a Big Photo Show kit, which would help photo retailers host their own Big Photo Show events in their local markets; continued support and development of certifications; social media programs for members; additional promotion of National Photo Month and the establishment of a National Photo Store Day; continued legal support; and ongoing work with other industry groups to help market and promote revenue generating aspects of photography.

“Our mission and focus must be clear and targeted to the industry needs of today. We recognize that the basic motivation in our industry is the passion for photography. Photography is not going away because technology has caused a paradigm shift; in fact, the passion is stronger than ever, because it’s more convenient to capture and share images than ever before in human history,” said PMA President Bill Eklund of Sharp Photo & Portrait, Eau Claire, Wis. “PMA, as the industry’s worldwide photo association, needs to help its members evolve by promoting innovation and technology; providing networking events like the PMA Conferences and PMA@CES to help our members with idea sharing and marketing their products and services; and fueling consumer passion for photography with information and education events like the Big Photo Show. We are excited to unveil our refined mission statement, and to offer these new and expanded resources and tools to our members.”

MMIE: Take part in Save Your Photos Day

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MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #567 – July 29, 2014

Remember those movie trailers, with the spinning newspaper front page, and the voiceover “Ripped from today’s headlines” . . .? Well, here’s something that is, indeed, ripped from today’s headlines, and with a natural connection to your business.

It’s called “Save Your Photos Day.”

“The Save Your Photos Alliance has started a grass roots initiative called Save Your Photos Day, Saturday, Sept. 27, an international event for those who appreciate that every life is a story worth preserving and sharing. Thus, this is a perfect fit for all photo retailers/labs. Please join us,” says Cathi Nelson, alliance founder, and founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers. mmie 567

Every year there are hundreds of disasters throughout the world – fire, flood, earthquake, mudslide, tornado, war, theft, technology crashes – with family photos and historical memorabilia among the worst things to lose.

The alliance is a diverse group formed to address ways to educate people on what to do before a disaster strikes. You can join in by going to the alliance’s website and clicking on “Get Involved.” You can also listen to a webinar for information.

Save Your Photos Day is an international event with presentations and hands-on workshops to provide education and tools for collecting, organizing, and safeguarding  photos, documents, videos, and other memorabilia. There’s a free kit you can get from the website, with all the information needed to host two types of events, either a one-hour education seminar or a community event that includes other local businesses. The kit includes logos, a sample press release, event check list, educational presentation, and fact sheet.

As Nelson notes, there are five ways you can get involved:

1. Hold your own event at your location.

2. Team up with other professionals in your area and plan a community event.

3. Participate in an event already planned – for example in Hartford, CT there’s an event planned at the CT Historical Society.

4. Provide a subject matter expert for an event already planned in your area.

5. Promote an event in your area even if you aren’t participating.

Seems like a natural. Get your free kit today and start your customers acting to saving their photos.

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.

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

Amazon opens 3D Printed Products Store

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BobbleWhole[1]Today, Amazon launched the 3D Printed Products Store, which it calls “a marketplace that gives customers access to more than 200 unique print on-demand products, many that can be customized by material, size, styles and color variations, and personalized with text and image imprints.” The store features products like jewelry, toys, home décor and fashion accessories.

“The 3D Printed Products store enables every customer the opportunity to be a product designer. From pendants to decorative vases to bobble head figurines, the new store features a broad selection of items to foster creativity. The store includes modestly priced customizable items sellers are currently offering for under $40, including cufflinks, bobble head figurines and funky wine glass holders. In the $100 price range, customers can design customized fashion accessories like pendants, earrings and necklaces,” Amazon said in an announcement.