by Dave Newman Published 01/04/2004
Dave is a Fellow SWPP, the MPA and a PPA Master/Craftsman with the rare degree of PPA "API" (PPA Approved Photographic Instructor) and has presented several UK professional programs. An author of four books, he recently won the SWPP Overseas Photographer of the Year and received his award in Las Vegas. Dave teaches weeklong PPA courses in the USA and has an internship program in Salt Lake City. Successful seminars around the world (Korea 7 times) have filled much of his travel-teaching time. Dave Newman is coming to the UK to teach three seminars in May 2004 - 9th (Midlands), 10th (Northwest) and 11th (Scotland). These are not to be missed, it is a rare opportunity to learn from a master! Ed
Idea 1 - Better Digital Exposure - Colour
Here are some thoughts on quick and easy digital exposure, contrast and colour balance with simple aids and devices. Some colour labs are offering cardboard or paper "targets" to their customers who need help with digital control. Start with the simple use of a grey card, which can really help to gain very accurate exposure. Would you believe, experts are now saying digital cameras provide the most accurate exposure when using the histogram/gray card method, as the same model cameras seem to be inconsistent. Some photographers have developed their own personal testing (colour chart) targets...this is great, if it works for you.
Recently I located a slick inexpensive item that saves me loads of time and gets me to correct contrast and removes strange colour casts while providing the most accurate digital exposure I have found. Lite-Balance is a simple 31" springtype reflector disc, which has on one side a soft silver reflector for use as a general reflector but with tricky digital target on the other side. One could easily adjust a digital image if present were those three sacred items: black, white and neutral gray. This target comprises a white and black contrast target plus an oversized 18% grey area section, which provides, via your camera's histogram, a most accurate exposure reading (when adjusting and centering the histogram's singular spike). The Lite-Balance, when included into the first start-up frame, now provides a nifty little printing adjustment aid while using your computer's Adobe Photoshop. How does this work? Simply touch the appropriate Curves (or Levels) eye-droppers to the black, white and grey areas in of this start-up frame and while using the eye-droppers in Curves the image jumps into very simple contrast and colour cast corrections. These changes can be saved and reloaded (Curves) to correct each new similarly lit image. Change to a new light source or location and one needs to use the target (Lite-Balance disc) once again.
Idea 2 Beat the No-Show Appointment Dilemma
Attention studio owner! Take my advice and set up this procedure with C this dilemma deals with the initial appointment phone call. It's just a simple phone statement that ends your constant no-show problem ( which plagues us all on busy scheduled days). We were checking out our figures of the actual number folks who don't bother to call and cancel their appointment. Not arriving for their scheduled appointment is the demon. Well, we arrived at the striking sum of 22% of all booked appoints were not even bothering to notify us of their changed plans. Now, we never see these no-shows and rarely get cancelled with a phone call. How do we do it? Simply state this as you book the appointment: "We asked that you lock-in your studio appointment with a payment of your camera room charge at this time, which is X dollars; will that be credit card or do you wish to mail in a cheque!"
Even though I have degrees on three continents, loads of experience, and one of Americas best studio facilities, if a client has nothing to loose, why should they bother to call me and cancel. Doctors of medicine and even dentist are now billing for no-shows in their practice. In fact, this is where we received the idea for this concept. Appointment slots at my studio are often precious few, and this means money. So, the big secret or solution to this problem is simply to get the cash commitment upfront as the appointment is being booked. Folks don't mind locking in your time and your studio staff with cash as part of this appointment commitment. This actually makes most folks feel good about the solid commitment they now have with you. Then as an added bonus for your studio, you will have less "money talk" on the appointment day since the basic camera room charge is pre-paid. Its even much easier if you do add-ons, to this basic camera room charge, for extra requests, since the added fee will seem less burdensome at the actual session.Idea 3 So you want Prints and Digital Images too
convinced" and they wish to capture groups and very important wedding shots and portraits on real film*. If your client, out of habit, or wishes prints to order from, you're now stuck with both digital files and prints. Well, here's a great solution to getting the print images into digital format quickly, with no cost to you at all. The HP Officejet V40 is allin- one machine which costs only around 100.00 US dollars and is able to fax, copy and scan and print. The totally cool concept here is that one can now drop a stack of 50 5x5 wedding prints, as an example, into the V40's tray and it will automatically scan each for online ordering or photo CDs or ??? The quality is marginal, but for providing quick usable low-resolution scan on each of your prints, it really works. We now can project or show digital images from film/print images together, all On-Line for those great Out of Town relative to order from, without having the costly film scans to purchase along with the 5x5 prints.
*Note: I consider a typical film 6x6 negative image akin or equal to a whopping 250 mb digital image.
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