What’s hot right now? from PMA magazine

Retailers found some of the hottest products on the PMA 2010 trade show floor – and shared them at the Hot Picks Session

May/June issue of PMA Magazine - Connecting the Imaging Communities

The trade show floor at PMA 2010 in Anaheim, Calif., was bursting with exciting, money-making products. Seeking out some of the very best was a team of photo retailers tasked with finding and sharing the hottest products being exhibited. They presented their selections at the PMA 2010 Retailer Hot Picks Session on the final day of the show, presented here from the May/June issue of PMA Magazine – Connecting the Imaging Communities.

Moderator Bill McCurry of McCurry Associates, Princeton, N.J., began the session with a pick of his own: PMA+, an affordable, ready-made email newsletter marketing program available to PMA members.

“If you don’t have time to do email newsletters, PMA+ has them ready for you,” McCurry said. “They are well written and well done. You can send something to your customers every month to remind them you exist, they should take pictures, and they should come to you. Take a look at it – but only if you want customers to keep coming back to you.”

Following McCurry was Mike Worswick of Wolfe’s Cameras, Computers & Camcorders, Topeka Kan.

“The coolest thing I saw was a gadget called a Magic Wand Scanner from VuPoint.” About the size of a pen, users simply drag the wand across an image to scan it.

“It writes to a micro SD card, and then you can dump that file as a JPEG or some other format into your computer. Lots of consumers have old photo albums with magnetic pages and pictures semi-glued inside,” Worswick noted. With the Magic Wand Scanner, users can scan those stuck prints without destroying them.

Better yet, he noted, retailers can offer that as a service. “For customers who have pictures they want digitized or restored that are in some ancient family scrapbook and don’t want to come out, [the Magic Wand offers] both a product and a service opportunity,” he said.

Alan Logue of Hutt Street Photos in Adelaide, South Australia, chose the Easy Controller software from Noritsu.

“Three years ago, I spent a quarter of a million dollars on a Noritsu lab. Easy Controller software gives me another one for about $2,000 to $3,000. This provides another workstation, where I can replicate a workflow and print on the same machine,” Logue said. “So, I can have my lab working, and I can be working on a separate workstation doing other things. I can process RAW files, and do color profiling and more color management than what I can do in the existing Noritsu software. For the price, I think it’s an absolute steal.”

Logue also made a second Hot Pick – this one chosen by Steve Olock of Dan’s Camera City, Allentown, Pa., as well: Grace Pearlescent Drylab Photo paper, a metallic-like inkjet paper from Mitsubishi, being presented by Southpoint Photo Imaging Supplies Inc.

“We print on Kodak Metallic Paper, but we cannot do anything bigger than 12 inches on our Noritsu,” Logue said. “We outsource our larger metallic paper work to another lab, but I’d like to bring that capability in-store. It would give us more bang for the buck, and quicker turnaround on metallic. This inkjet metallic paper from Mitsubishi is not 100 percent the same as [Kodak] Metallic, but it’s close – and with it, we can offer almost a 1-hour turnaround on 24-by-36 metallic serv-ice.”

The Tensador II semi-automatic canvas stretcher system won the vote of Phil Gresham, Fotofast, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

“If you do canvas, you know a lot of time is spent stretching it. [The Tensador II] is such an easy and fast way of stretching canvas and, more important, stretching it evenly, so there are no wrinkles,” Gresham said. “It has just the right tension on it, and it’s so simple. It’s pretty cool; we’ll be ordering one of these.”

Tim Jones of Perfect Prints, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, selected the SteadePod from Cameron Products/West Coast Corp. To achieve a steady shot without a tri-pod or monopod, users simply attach it to a still or video camera, extend and anchor the foot pad, and pull to create a small amount of tension in the cable.

Jones summed up the SteadePod in two words: “Unique and profitable.”

Chosen by Gaby Mullinax of Fullerton Photographics Inc., Fullerton, Calif., as well as Bob Sager of Bob’s Camera and Video, Barre, Vt., and Allen Showalter of King Photo/Showalter Imaging Group, Harrisonburg, Va., were plug-ins from Topaz Labs.

“Topaz Labs has a plug-in for lots of different programs, such as Adobe Elements, Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, and iPhoto,” Sager said. “It does things such as creative exposure adjustment, artwork, removes noise, sharpening, image extraction, and more. The demo was very impressive: you can do some-thing in 30 seconds that previously took 15 minutes.”

Showalter added plug-ins for both Mac and PC are on the same disc, and the whole suite is available for $129.

Photographers can thwart would-be camera thieves with Sun Sniper, chosen by Martin Wagner, Ringfoto GmbH & Co. Alfo Mktg KG, Fürth, Germany.

“It’s very easy to use this strap, and it has steel bound into it. You can’t cut it away or your knife would be damaged. It’s a very cool product – very fast and helpful for photogra-phers,” Wagner said.

Chris Lydle of Chris’ Camera Center and Digital Photo, Aiken, S.C., selected the To-CAD America Sunpak Ringlight.

“I love to sell ring lights because they’re profitable, but they are a pain in the neck to synchronize with the camera to make them fit the lens,” Lyle says. “This one doesn’t have to synchronize because it’s continuous, and it’s mounted on a snake so it doesn’t have to be mounted on a particular lens.”

Although he was unable to attend the session, Brian Noble of Noble’s Camera Shops, Hingham, Mass., chose FotoFusion software from LumaPix. FotoFusion Enhanced is an image layout environment de-signed for experienced scrapbookers and pho-tography enthusiasts, including artwork from leading scrapbooking companies. FotoFusion Extreme is an image layout environment allowing pros to create elegant and impressive wedding albums in minutes.

Frequent traveler Catharina Schorcht from Foto Schorcht GmbH, Gütersloh, Germa-ny, found a product that would make her life easier: the Universal Charger from PIXO Germany. “I picked it because you can charge all your batteries with your laptop or flat screen television,” Schorcht said. “When you travel a lot, it’s a great thing to take with you all the time.”

Mark Comon of Paul’s Photo Inc., Torrance, Calif., selected two products as his Hot Picks. First was the LowePro Passport Sling bag, which Comon said is “cool for a small DSLR outfit. It’s great for the family photographer, for the traveler, or for mom. It’s a different look – neat, easy, and fun.”

Along with Brian Ainsworth of Photos Ar’ Nice Inc., Gainesville, Fla., Comon also chose Hoodman Photo Frames. These frames aren’t for displaying prints, but for eyeglasses. Designed for spectacle-wearing photographers, these glasses have frames that flip up – so the photographer can lift the lens of the shooting eye and leave the lens down for the tracking eye. Hoodman Photo Frames come with clear glass that can be replaced with prescription lenses by the user’s optometrist.

Professional photographers who shoot with a Nikon will appreciate the selection of Martin Škoda, Centrum FotoŠkoda, Praha, Czech Republic: the Unleashed Barcode Edition from foolography GmbH.

“This is a module you can add to your Nikon camera. It can be synchronized with your barcode scanner, so you can scan the number, and the barcode will be stitched to the photo,” Skoda said. The Unleashed module connects wirelessly to a Bluetooth barcode reader; and whenever a barcode is scanned, it will be added to the EXIF data of all the following photos, until the next barcode is read. No computer and no cables are necessary, so it can be operated from a dis-tance.

Although Mark Oliver from Adanac Images, St. Mary’s, Ontario, Canada, was unable to attend the session, he chose Snapizzi as his Hot Pick. Snapizzi is a web-based business platform for school, sports, and event photo-graphers. It optimizes workflow, helps photographers grow their businesses, and provides extensive tracking and reports. Oliv-er particularly appreciated cost-effective options for online ordering.

Appealing to several retailers was the iaPeel printable skin for iPhones and similar gadgets – it got the vote of Michael St. Germain, Concord Camera Store, Concord, N.H.; Gabe Cano, Specialty Color Services, Santa Barbara, Calif.; Phil Rigby, Spectrum Imaging, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom; and Paul Boniface, Scone Digital Imaging, Scone, New South Wales, Australia.

“There are several means of putting a skin on a phone or [gaming device]. What’s good about the iaPeel, though, is it has alignment tabs: tiny little fold-up bits of paper allowing it to go on straight and without a bubble,” Rigby said. “I think it’s cool. I’m taking some home, and I’m going to be selling them [right away]. I’m looking forward to it.”

Boniface added, “The iaPeel is a great thing to have on the counter. It will sell itself.”

Although Cano was among those who chose the iaPeel, he also presented two other products as his Hot Picks. One was the unique straps from Riley G Strapworks, a company that makes camera straps from leather car seats. Cano displayed straps made from seats of a Porsche and a Mercedes.

“They’re handmade, and they’re so beautiful,” Cano said. “We’re definitely going to be carrying these – they are right up our alley.”

Cano also chose sterling silver photo gifts from Planet Jill – products compelling enough to convince Cano to finally enter the photo gifting business.

“We’ve been very hesitant about photo gifting, because we hadn’t found anything that pulled our heartstrings – until yesterday, when we discovered the Planet Jill booth,” he said. “They have several different sterling silver photo gifts: jewelry, paper weights, and lots of guy stuff. They provide beautiful packaging for you. They’re very high quality.”

Jochen Strasser, Foto-Partner Strasser GmbH, Hamburg, Germany, and Margaret Remy, Quick Prints, Meridian, Miss., both named the Frame Wizard from Facecake as their Hot Pick. The Frame Wizard digital frame adds motion to a still image.

“I was flying down the aisle and I stopped dead still when I passed this booth,” Remy said. “There was a picture that was snowing. There were leaves falling in an autumn pic-ture. The software makes this digital frame recognize what’s in the picture. Babies will blink their eyes. The waves move in the ocean. You can customize it with mattes, and it works with numerous media and file types. It comes in 8 or 15 inches; and it’s a classy, very nice, high-end frame.”

The Zipshot Tripod from Tamrac caught the eye of Bill Eklund, Sharp One Hour Photo, Eau Claire, Wis. The Zipshot is only 15 inches long when folded, and weighs just 11 ounces. When opened, it “zips” into a 44-inch tripod.

“This is so cool, but you have to demonstrate it to your customers,” Eklund said. “It holds about 3 pounds and it’s great for a backpacker, but the neat thing is the demonstration. Once you show this to people, they’re going to buy it – and it has a good margin.”

Paul Atkins of Atkins Technicolour, Kent Town, South Australia, selected the Ecce Terram book design software. “I’ve never before seen photo book software that offers collaboration of five or six people at once. You can be online working in your book, and your friends can get on there too, at their same time,” Atkins said. “There’s a quick design wizard, and a fantastic template selection. If you want to pull out the clip art and just have very basic templates, you can do that as well.”

Particularly appealing to female photographers is the R-Strap from Black Rapid, named a Hot Pick by Lisa Otto of Banff Photography Foto Source, Banff, Alberta, Canada. The R-Strap crosses the torso in a manner comfortable for women – unlike many other straps, Otto said.

Caroll Ross of Foto Source (Reid’s), White Rock, British Columbia, Canada, selected photo wallpaper from HP.

“You can place photos on walls where they could not go before. We do a lot of wide for-mat printing now, and we have several artists in our town who would want their artwork on the wallpaper in their homes,” she said.

Catherine Logue of Hutt Street Photos, Adelaide, South Australia, chose web design from Dakis. “It’s seamless. I’m delighted with them,” she said. “They are going to do our photo store website, as well as the website for the training school I run.”

The Jellyfish Strap from Delkin Devices was the Hot Pick from Paul Comon of Paul’s Photo Inc., Torrance, Calif.

“It’s three straps attach to a floating ball so, if you drop it, it won’t sink. It’s ideal for cam-eras and water. It has a wrist strap that clips off, and you can put your underwater camera on another strap or in the waterproof pocket. You can also put your money, cell phone, and all kinds of other things into the pocket,” Comon said. “This is a very fun product to sell – and it even has a bottle opener in it.”

Peter Michael of Michaels Camera Video Digital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, chose PMA+ and membership in Independent Photo Imagers (IPI) as his Hot Picks.

“We sell cameras mainly, but our services and our lab are what we want to concentrate on – so I joined IPI yesterday. There are lots and lots of benefits, as well as discounts and networking,” he said. “We also joined the PMA+ program. We want to get the maxi-mum output for the least work; and with PMA+, the work is done already. It’s very simple to use.”

The Hot Picks

• PMA+, PMA, chosen by Bill McCurry, McCurry Associates; and Peter Michael, Michaels Camera & Video.

• Independent Photo Imagers (IPI), chosen by Peter Michael.

• Magic Wand, VuPoint Solutions, chosen by Mike Worswick, Wolfe’s Cameras, Camcorders & Computers.

• Easy Controller, Noritsu, chosen by Alan Logue, Hutt Street Photos.

• Grace Pearlescent Drylab Photo paper from Mitsubishi Imaging, exhibited by Southpoint Photo Imaging Supplies, chosen by Alan Logue and Steve Olock, Dan’s Camera City.

Tensador II, chosen by Phil Gresham, Fotofast.

• SteadePod, Cameron Products/West Coast Corp., chosen by Tim Jones, Perfect Prints.

• Plug-ins for image editing software, Topaz Labs, chosen by Gaby Mullinax, Fullerton Photographics Inc.; Bob Sager, Bob’s Camera and Video; and Allen Showalter, King Photo/Showalter Imaging Group.

Sun Sniper Steel camera strap, chosen by Martin Wagner, Ringfoto GmbH & Co. Alfo Mktg KG.

ToCAD Sunpak Ring Light, chosen by Chris Lydle, Chris’ Camera Center and Digital Photo.

• FotoFusion software, LumaPix, chosen by Brian Noble, Noble’s Camera Shops.

• Universal Charger, PIXO Germany, chosen by Catharina Schorcht, Foto Schorcht GmbH.

LowePro Passport Sling bag, chosen by Mark Comon, Paul’s Photo Inc.

Hoodman USA PhotoFrames, chosen by Mark Comon and Brian Ainsworth, Photos Ar’ Nice.

• Unleashed Barcode Edition, foolography, chosen by Martin Škoda, Centrum Foto-Škoda.

Snapizzi, chosen by Mark Oliver, Adanac Images of Ontario Ltd.

iaPeel , chosen by Michael St. Germain, Concord Camera Store; Gabe Cano, Specialty Color Services; Phil Rigby, Spectrum Imaging; and Paul Boniface, Scone Digital Imaging.

• Leather camera straps, Riley G Strapworks, chosen by Gabe Cano.

• Sterling silver photo gifting items, Planet Jill, chosen by Gabe Cano.

• Zipshot Tripod, Tamrac, chosen by Bill Eklund, Sharp One Hour Photo; and Tor Weatherstone, Scandinavian Photo Consult.

• Photo book design software, Ecce Terram, chosen by Paul Atkins, Atkins Technicolour.

• Frame Wizard, Facecake, chosen by Jochen Strasser, Foto Partner Strasser GmbH; and Margaret Remy, Quick Prints.

• R-Strap, Black Rapid, chosen by Lisa Otto, Banff Photography Foto Source.

• Custom printed wallpaper, HP, chosen by Caroll Ross, Foto Source (Reid’s).

• Website design, Dakis, chosen by Catherine Logue, Hutt Street Photos.

• Jellyfish strap, Delkin Devices, chosen by Paul Comon, Paul’s Photo Inc.

PMA 2010 marked by wide-scale education and cutting-edge product trends

The PMA 2010 International Convention and Trade Show held in Anaheim, Calif., USA, drew attendees from around the world with 84 countries represented. The convention featured more than 300 speakers and chairpersons and offered approximately 150 educational sessions, covering topics such as digital imaging, employee training, business management, and sales and marketing. Select sessions were spoken in Spanish and German. New features of this PMA convention included the Pro Photographer Business Boot Camp and the DIMA Brand Boot Camp.

Five allied imaging groups – the Digital Imaging Marketing Association® (DIMA®),the Professional School Photographers Association International (PSPA), the Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA), the Photo Imaging Education Association (PIEA), and the Sports Photographers Association of America (SPAA) – held their annual meetings and conference sessions in conjunction with the PMA convention. Approximately 1,400 attendees participated in the All Conference Connection Pass program for DIMA, PSPA, SPAA, and PPFA, whereby attendees were able to attend sessions at all four of those conferences. The PrintFest Expo Pavilion and Cross Media West Conference, an event for digital printers and direct marketing firms, also co-located at PMA 2010.

Networking opportunities were enhanced this year due to the proximity of official show hotels to the convention center.  High-level meetings, including the PMA Hosted Buyer Program, the Association of Imaging Executives® (AIE®) Output Summit, and the PMA Executive Gathering, also enhanced these informal discussions.

“Participation in conversations at these gatherings is very valuable,” says John Crewson, Foto Source Canada Inc., Oakville, Ontario, Canada. “There are no other events allowing for this kind of exchange of ideas and challenges in the marketplace.”

PMA 2010 post-show surveys reveal 85 percent of the attendees were satisfied/extremely satisfied with the convention and trade show. Key buyers from a variety of industry segments attended the show. In addition, the location of central California brought interest from new attendees to the 86-year-old convention and trade show. One-third of survey respondents say they were first-time attendees.

Trends on display at the more than 400 exhibits included:

• Continued expansion of “mirrorless,” interchangeable lens cameras, including new models shown by Olympus America Inc. and concept cameras debuted by Sony Electronics.

• Dozens of new digital cameras from major manufacturers such as Casio, Fujifilm, Nikon, Panasonic, Sony, and more. (For a comprehensive roundup, visit the Cameras@PMA website.)

• Environmentally friendly inkjet and thermal retail printing solutions from DNP, Fujifilm, HP, Kodak, Noritsu America/Lucidiom, Sony, and many more.

• A wide array of “creative expressions” photo products, including greeting cards, posters, collages, puzzles, and many more.

• The PMA Photo App Pavilion, where attendees were able to see the latest and greatest photo applications for the iPhone and other smart phones, and learn how mobile imaging is changing the way people use their phones as real capture devices. Glyn Evans, editor of the popular iPhoneography blog, presented the top photo apps available today.    more…

Sony introduces small, interchangeable lens cameras, previewed at PMA 2010

Sony NEX-5 and NEX-3

Sony NEX-5 and NEX-3

Sony Electronics Inc., San Diego, Calif., made a reality of the concept cameras shown at PMA 2010 today with
the introduction of the (alpha) compact interchangeable lens digital cameras, models NEX-5 and NEX-3, with the company says provide the quality of a DSLR in a compact body that is easy to slip into a small purse or jacket pocket for ultimate portability.

“Consumers want better picture quality in a smaller form factor. Sony has made that a reality with these cameras. The NEX-5 and NEX-3 cameras truly embody Sony’s make.believe spirit,” says Kristen Elder, director of Sony’s alpha digital imaging business. “These new cameras are the game-changers everyone has been waiting for and will revolutionize the consumer experience by offering outstanding picture quality with a totally pocketable size.”

With breakthrough video performance, Sony says these models are the world’s first interchangeable lens cameras with an APS-C sensor to continuously adjust focus and exposure while recording video. The NEX-5 camera offers Full HD movie capture (1080i AVCHD and 720p MP4) with Full HD 60i recording. Unlike conventional DSLR models, the “mirrorless” construction of the new models reduces the thickness of both camera bodies to just about an inch at their slimmest point (excluding grip and mount portions). The NEX-5, constructed from magnesium alloy, and the NEX-3, with a polycarbonate casing, offer a newly developed 14.2 megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor.

The NEX-5 and NEX-3 are the first Sony alpha cameras to offer the extra convenience of high definition video recording. In addition to 720p HD recording, the NEX-5 also captures Full HD (1920-by-1080i) video in high-quality AVCHD files that can be easily enjoyed on a compatible HD television via the cameras built-in HDMI terminal (cable not included). The NEX-3 shoots 720p HD video as compact MP4 files. Both Sony cameras include built-in stereo microphones for high-quality audio recording. Still and video image quality is further refined by Sony’s BIONZ processor ensuring quick DSLR-style shooting response with fast, precise autofocus and minimal shutter lag. Both cameras can also capture fast-moving action with a high-speed burst of full-resolution images at up to 7fps (AF/AE fixed from first frame).

The NEX-5 and NEX-3 are the first Sony alpha cameras featuring Sony’s innovative “Sweep Panorama” feature. Capturing large group shots is as easy as press-and-sweep. Sweep Panorama mode lets consumers capture breathtaking shots up to 226-degree horizontal or 151-degree vertical shots. Both models will be ready for 3D Sweep Panorama this July (with firmware update). With 3D Sweep Panorama mode, these cameras can shoot 3D panoramic still images with a single lens. The high-speed burst of frames is stitched together using innovative processing techniques to automatically create detail-packed 3D panoramas. These files can be enjoyed in stunning 3D on compatible 3D televisions (other accessories may be required). The NEX-5A and NEX-3A cameras, which are supplied with SEL16F28 lens, will cost about $650 and $550 respectively. NEX-5K and NEX-3K cameras, supplied with SEL1855 lens will cost about $700 and $600 respectively. The NEX-3 will be available in silver, black and red, and the NEX-5 in silver and black. The SEL16F28 and SEL1855 lenses will be available for about $250 and $300. (The SEL18200 zoom lens will be available this fall for about $800.)

Lucidiom extends PMA 2010 offers

Lucidiom Inc., Vienna, Va., announced the extension of its PMA 2010 show specials on the EQ Masters Kit, APM kiosk and Photo Finale through the close-of-business, Friday, April 30. Contact your local Lucidiom rep for prices or to place your order, and include your buying group information.

What makes a retail superstar? from PMA magazine

George Whalin

Make your business unique, says George Whalin

“What makes great retailers? How are they different from others?” asked PMA 2010 Official Business Session speaker George Whalin, author of the book, “Retail Superstars.” His presentation is featured in the April issue of PMA Magazine – Connecting the Imaging Communities.

“If you have a small business that is not distinguishable from your competitors, you are going to struggle,” Whalin said.

There are many ways to stand out – such as having a unique store design, an unusual selection of merchandise, a major commitment to employee training and development, unrivaled customer service or a revolutionary business model. Each store Whalin profiled in his book differentiates itself in one of those ways. They all offer remarkable customer service. They all share another trait as well. They don’t care what the competition is doing. In-stead, these superstar retailers focus on what is happening in their own businesses.

Whalin gave several examples of retail superstars, and shared what they have done to become wildly successful.

Gallery Furniture, Houston, Texas, is owned by Jim McIngvale, better known as “Mattress Mack.” Being a tireless promoter, offering free meals to customers and employees – prepared by a professional chef – every day, and providing a same-day delivery (almost unheard of for a furniture store), have helped Mattress Mack generate $150 million in annual sales. His community involvement and charity work have benefited him as well. Mattress Mack is so beloved in the Houston area, when his business caught fire, 32 fire departments showed up to save the store.

Jungle Jim’s International Market Inc., Fairfield, Ohio, is a 300,000 square-foot emporium selling 150,000 different foods from 75 countries, including 1,400 cheeses, 12,000 vintage wines, and 1,400 varieties of hot sauce. In addition to the massive selection, the store is unique for the experience it provides. There is a real fire truck atop the hot sauce display, and a real yacht in the fish department. Entrances to the bathrooms look like construction site port-a-potties; but through those plastic doors are elegant, well-appointed lavatories that actually won the “America’s Best Restroom” award from the Cintas Corp. Not to be outdone by his environment, owner Jim Bonaminio often walks the aisles decked out in a wizard costume, a jungle suit, or a fireman’s uniform.

Berings, a store in Houston, Texas, started as a lumber yard, and then grew to a hardware store. In time, by responding to customer needs, the store morphed into an indescribable business that still sells hardware, but also high-end coffee, furniture, children’s clothes, gourmet foods, home furnishings and Montblanc pens. “Walk through a mall and you will see the same crap in every store,” Whalin said. “There is no difference; but Berings is very different. They provide what their customers want – and their customers love them.”

Abt Electronics, an independent store in Chicago, Ill., has grown to 350,000 square feet, and will do $300 million in business this year. Unlike any other consumer electronics retailer, Abt is a gorgeous store with marble flooring throughout; but more than the store’s beauty, customers respond to the retailer’s extraordinary service. For example, people ordering online can call an Abt employee for help at any point to be walked through the ordering process.

“If you’re buying a digital camera online, you can download a white paper from their site that will tell you what features to look for – even if you don’t buy it from them,” Whalin said. Such features have led to $50 million in online sales per year. The store also is dedicat-ed to having a knowledgeable staff, and is constantly teaching its employees.

No service is farmed out, Whalin said. “They even deliver and service everything they sell. When employees deliver a purchase, they are dressed nicely, with no metal in their faces; they are polite and professional, and they clean up after themselves,” Whalin said.

He challenged the audience to go home and think about the opportunities in their businesses. “Don’t pay attention to the media,” he warned. “They’ll make you want to jump off a building. Just pay attention to what you’re doing. The opportunities are out there for anyone who wants to grow their business.”

PMA 2010 photo gifting session “Trinkets, Trash and Treasures” now on PMA TV

Photo retailers Phil Gresham of Fotofast, Brisbane, Australia, and Gaby Mullinax, Fullerton Photographics, Fullerton, Calif, share the secrets to their photo gifting success in a video of the PMA 2010 session, “Trinkets, Trash and Treasures,” now available on PMA TV.

New excitement in the photo industry, from PMA magazine

“In 1901, the mayor of London assembled a group of the foremost thinkers in the area to create a strategic plan for what they would need to accomplish by 1925,” said author Peter Sheahan, who moderated a panel of leading photo retailers at the first Official Business Session of PMA 2010, excerpted here from PMA Magazine – Connecting the Imaging Communities. “They settled on three key issues they thought the city of London would need in 1925: a million new horses; housing for all those horses; and a method to address hygiene issues resulting from the horses. Come 1925, that plan was of no use at all. How could they have known the automobile would completely change the city?”

Peter Sheahan

Peter Sheahan at PMA 2010

Actually, they could have. In 1901, Sheahan said, there were already 75,000 cars on the road; but the leading thinkers of the time made the wrong assumptions about the future, because they made the wrong assumptions about the present.

Sheahan likened that thinking to the idea there are no longer opportunities for retailers in the imaging industry. The retailers on the panel have all found successful business models in the current imaging environment; and all believe there has never been a better time to be in the photo industry.

The panelists, all owners or partners of their respective photo operations, were Gabe Cano, Specialty Services Custom Photo Lab, Santa Barbara, Calif.; David Guidry, Lakeside Camera Photoworks, Metairie, La.; Robert L. Hanson, Harold’s Photo Center, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Brad Jefferson, Animoto Productions, New York, N.Y.; Richard Moross, MOO Print Ltd., London, England; and Gabrielle Mullinax, Fullerton Photographics Inc., Fullerton, Calif.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” said Moross. “With MOO, we try to make remarkable products people haven’t seen before and will discuss. Great products market themselves; and when you’re making something no one has seen before, people don’t have preconceived price points. We can operate at very high margins.”

PMA 2010 retailer panel

Retailer panel members discussed successful business models implemented at their companies.

Retailer panel members discussed successful business models implemented at their companies.

“For us, it’s all about the inspiration,” said Mullinax, who was wearing a photo scarf she developed and sells in her store. “You have to be so inspirational they can’t resist doing busi-ness with you. There are lots of opportunities to merge photos with text and help people do something meaningful with their images, but you have to do it for them; you have to show them how to create something so compelling they want to do more and more.”

Jefferson said a key for his business success is automating a process that is very difficult for consumers to do on their own. “Our passion is creating value for our customers with the click of a button. We are freeing them from a very intensive process of creating videos from their pictures, video, and music.”

Creating solutions that work well for customers both in-store and online is critical, said Hanson. “It’s more difficult, but also more exciting, to operate in both worlds. In our stores, people can pick up and touch all the things we make, and we can really interact and help customers become passionate about what we do. We are a specialty store, so we must be special. We also must have a compel-ling online solution, because my customers want to shop online even if they also come to the store. They will go home and tell a sister-in-law in another part of the country about our great products, who will then go online and order them for herself.”

A willingness to try new thing and risk occasional failures has helped Cano’s business on its successful path. “Being afraid to fail will hold you back. We have discovered, within the community we’re building our business around, it’s OK to fail – and it’s OK to show it. That comes across as authenticity,” he said. ”My business partner and I are just two guys who are nuts about photography. What’s happening in our industry is really exciting to us – and showing that excitement is really attractive to people – especially with Generation Y. They don’t want us to be slick; they want us to be real.”

There has been a fundamental shift in the imaging industry that has made it much more difficult for consumers to do anything with their pictures after capture, said Guidry. “For a long time, the concept was, ‘You push the button and we’ll do the rest.’ Now, if we want consumers to make something with their im-ages, we say, ‘We’re going to give you a difficult assignment that will be technologically challenging for you; but when you’re done, we will make you something great,’” he commented. “We need to take that burden from them.”

April issue of PMA magazine is now online

PMA magazine's April issue features PMA 2010 coverage

PMA magazine's April issue features PMA 2010 coverage

The April issue of PMA Magazine – Connecting the Imaging Communities is now available in an interactive format.

The browser-based digital edition preserves the publication’s layout, as well as includes hyperlinks and search features. Readers can share and print individual articles, as well as download a PDF for offline reading. Clicking on an article’s headline brings up a new window where users can post articles to social networking sites, email, print a text version, and translate the text into five languages.

Here are the highlights:

In Memoriam: Donald W. Becker – PMA Hall of Fame member passes away at 85.

Newsline – The winners are…

Parting Shot – Viewpoints from the PMA 2010 show floor.

PMA 2010 — Annual photo show has successful Southern California event.

Association Leadership – New PMA officers for the 2010-2011 term.

Presidential Profile: Brian Wood – Dedicated to the independent retailer, PMA president Brian Wood sees opportunity to ahead.

Bringing out the best – DIMA 2010 sessions provide relevant advice for success in the imaging industry today.

Shooting it out – DIMA names winners of photo printer and kiosk shootouts

The best innovations – 2010 DIMA Innovative Digital Product Award winners announced

PSPA 2010 means business – Annual conference offers ideas through sessions, tour and networking.

PPFA 2010 highlights custom framing techniques – Annual conference features advanced technique workshops and networking events.

Sports spectacular – SPAA 2010 conference brings sports and event photography to new heights.

It’s official – PMA 2010 official business sessions cover opportunities, retail superstars and Twitter.

Member Advantage — New business insurance for pro photographers available through PMA.


New on PMA TV: PMA 2010 Retailer Hot Picks

Paul Boniface, Phil Rigby and Gabe Cano

Phil Rigby (center) describes his hot pick, flanked by Paul Boniface and Gabe Cano.

PMA Retailer Hot Picks at PMA 2010 was one of the most-idea provoking sessions of the show. If you missed it, check out the sesson starting today on PMA TV (for PMA members only). In one hour, you’ll hear 25 of the best ideas on the trade show floor from experienced retailers. They’ll uncover more on the floor for your success than you can in a full day. This must-see video will give you more good ideas for new and unique products for 2010 than you’ll see in one place all year.

PPFA announces winners of framing competition

The Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA®), a member association of PMA – The Worldwide Community of Imaging Associations, honored its winners of the PPFA International Framing Competition at the recent PPFA Annual Conference (held in conjunction with the PMA 2010 International Convention and Trade Show), at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, Calif.

Entries were displayed in a framing gallery on the PMA 2010 trade show floor. Judges Awards were donated by Bienfang Framing Products, Frank’s Fabrics, SoftTouch Solutions Inc., and Vermont Hardwoods.

The team from Rehfeld’s Art & Framing, Sioux Falls, S.D., won First Place in the PRINT category, in which participants showcased their artistic and technical skills by framing “Heart Rod Guitar” by artist Rod Morris, an antique Holbein watercolor applied to gesso on watercolor paper, pastel, and felt-tip pen. The team, which also took the Popular Choice PRINT award, includes Tim Baltzer; Sande Brosonski; Pat Hager; Audra Markwed; Desi Mowry, CPF; Larry Rehfeld, CPF; and Crista Saeger.

Joseph Boutell, CPF, The Source on Lake, Pasadena, Calif., won Second Place. Sarah Beckett, CPF, SB Framing Gallery, Milwaukee, Wis., won Third Place and also received the High Point First Time Entry Judges Award.

Sandy Beeler, CPF, The Frame Shoppe & Gallery, Lafayette, Ind., won First Honorable Mention. Chris Frazee, Art Supply House, Durango, Colo., received Second Honorable Mention and won a Judges Honors Certificate for Excellence for Craftsmanship and Wood Finishing. John Nazworth, Pinehurst Gallery, Orange, Texas, received Third Honorable Mention.

Mariska Kavich, CPF, of Mikki’s Frame Shop, Crossville, Tenn., won a Judges Award for Use of Green or Reclaimed Products. John Barlowe, The Frame Shop Art Gallery & Gifts, Holland, Ohio, won a Judges Award sponsored by SoftTouch Solutions for Innovative Moulding and Frame Creations.

The team from The Great Frame Up, Indianapolis, Ind. – John Russell, CPF; Belinda Short; Bruce Westphal, CPF; Phil Westphal; and Scott Westphal – received a Judges Award sponsored by Bienfang Products for Pushing the Limits of Frame Design.

Myrna Dow of High Desert Gallery, Bend, Ore., won a Judges Award sponsored by Frank’s Fabrics, for Best Use of Fabrics. Deborah J. Hill, MCPF, of Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, San Antonio, Texas, won a Judges Honors Certificate for Excellence and Craftsmanship for Innovation – New Techniques of Mounting and Mat Design.

Judges in the PRINT competition were Don Berkman, MCPF; Karla Elder, CPF, GCF; and Linda Wassell, MCPF. Jini Lumsden, MCPF, served as secretary.

The OPEN Competition allows participants to frame anything, indulging creativity without restriction.

Dean Cardenas, Art Incorporated, San Antonio, Texas, won First Place. Kristen Ling, CPF, A Framer’s Touch, Forest Grove, Ore., won Second Place; and Trevor Yates, Just Frame It, Gladstone, Queensland, Australia, won Third Place as well as Popular Choice OPEN.

Joyce Michels, MCPF, Michels Frames & Things, Saint Robert, Mo., received First Honorable Mention in OPEN.

A team from the Color Wheel, McLean, Va., won High Point First Time Entry; the team included Cyndi Geyer, Steve Jacobs, Katy Lewis, Megan Miller, Hernan Picco, Jacinta Porto, and Victor Suarez.

Mariska Kavich, Mikki’s Frame Shop, won a Judges Award for Innovative Design and Hand-Painted Finish. Nancy Norcross-White from New Creation Picture Framing, Pasadena, Calif., received a Judges Award, sponsored by Vermont Hardwoods, for Best Use of Mouldings. Barb Pelton, MCPF, Artfully Framed in Poplar Bluff, Mo., received a Judges Honors Certificate of Craftsmanship and Excellence for Unity and Design Excellence – Two-Sided Presentation.

Judges in the OPEN competition were Stuart Altschuler, CPF, GCF; Adela Davis, MCPF; and Linda Ellis-Watson, CPF. Mike Bettman, CPF, served as secretary.

The PRINT piece for the 2011 International Framing Competition is “Fall Color – Blue Sky,” a digital photograph reproduction using Epson Ultrachrome inks on Epson Premium Luster “E” Surface paper, by artist Linda Sutton, from The Artist’s Eye, Woodland Hills, Calif.