A Review of the Blend Workshop by JNP Studios

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I asked Jeff Lawler of Jeffrey Neal Studios if he would blog about his time at the BLEND workshop since I know so many of us really wanted to go but couldn’t get away! Thanks Jeff for sharing with me about your time and allowing me to share about it with the rest of our fabulous clients. I am so glad to have met you and to have you as a client! Can’t wait to see how your images rock even more after your inspiring time in New Mexico.

Without further ado: a summary of the workshop in his own words:

What an amazing week!  First I must say thank you to Eliesa and [b] for these images as I did not shoot any digital images so I had nothing to post.  I made the decision to shoot only film so I will be posting those as soon as I get them back from the lab.  I wanted to post a little review for you all so that you can see what I thought in my own humble opinion about this workshop.  As many of you know I think it is so necessary for photographers, no matter how accomplished, to continue the journey of learning at all stages of their career.  A perfect point in case was Becker, not only does he teach a ton of workshops but he also attends them and was at BLEND, fully involved and getting into the classes being taught.

The Image is Found

Nate and Jaclyn was day one for me.  I know it sounds weird, but to preface this with saying, I have never followed anyone of the presenters blogs or workshops, not because I don’t like them I am just not a big blog follower.  So this was the first time that I really got to see and get to know what they are about.  Nate and Jac are really big into branding and hold their brand as a very valuable piece of their business.  I could not agree more and it was so inspiring to really focus on my branding and make sure that it is consistent all the way through, from my site to my marketing to my packaging.  They are both really young and have made a extremely successful business for themselves and I do believe that it is not just their images but their strong brand.  All in all their class was great and made me think a lote about what my brand is communicating.

Jesh De Rox

Wow!  That is a word that can sum up a lot of what I got out of spending a day with Jesh.  He has such a gift of inspiration and drawing artists out of what is mediocre and safe and into the world of endless possibilities.  I can honestly say that we spent zero time talking about cameras and f-stops and photography but more about being an artist.  The class ran more like a retreat that dealt with our own insecurities and fears about being true to ourselves than a photo workshop.  Personally, I could not place a value on what this did for me as an artist and a photographer who desires not only to capture great images but even more than that inspire people’s lives by my work.  Jesh gave us himself for a full day and it was a beautiful self.  He has such a passion to bring people into an experience and is so gifted at doing so.  I hope that you will all see the effects that this time had in me in my work over the next few years.  It will be in that way that I can best give honor to Jesh and his passion to inspire people to see the beauty in others.

Jose Villa

This was the last day of my BLEND experience.  I was so excited to hear what Jose had to say because I have such a passion for film and the art of photography and Jose shoots only film.  Yeah, there are a few left!  Jose was so open about all of his business and ideas and marketing that is was super refreshing.  He is probably one of the most humble and easy going photographers that I have met.  His artwork is unparalleled in the industry and his passion for art is so apparent.  I was so inspired to be a better artist and make sure that experience and product that I give to my clients is nothing short of amazing.

As a whole this was the best workshop I have attended.  The idea of Blend was to bring three totally different photographers together so that our experience would be blended and we could take what we wanted from it to better our own art and business.  The idea and execution was spot on and amazing.  The people that I met there were all inspiring and amazing and I can say with great pride that is was well worth the money spent.

Photographer Spotlight: Shawn Kloster

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We are so excited to Welcome Shawn Kloster as a client to Fotoworks Pro!  Shawn is a southern California based photographer who specializes in weddings, portraiture and editorial styles. He is passionate about his work and developing long-lasting relationships with those that he works with/for. Personally, he keeps me highly entertained via twitter and for that I am grateful.

The above images are from a shoot he did for Ashley Kopaskie for her modeling portfolio. Shawn says, “She is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet… and one hell of a trooper too! We put this together pretty fast and gave ourselves a very short time bracket to shoot it in. We shot in one of my favorite locations in the foothills near my home. The light was phenomenal, the weather was perfect and the bugs… well, they were everywhere. They seemed to love Ashley quite a bit, too.”

Shawn, these images immediately caught my eye when searching through your blog. You have a fabulous talent for lighting – definitely nailed the ethereal twilight effect in these. Excited to see what other amazing images you send through our lab and to get to know you better! Thanks for choosing Fotoworks Pro!

All the Best, Katie

Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous

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I used to want to be a rockstar. I’ll settle for being a microcelebrity in the photo industry. Still get the attention, the swag and the notoriety without the paparazzi and the booze-fueled tours. Wait, on second thought… just kidding.

“Microcelebrity is the phenomenon of being extremely well known not to millions but to a small group — a thousand people, or maybe only a few dozen. As DIY media reach ever deeper into our lives, it’s happening to more and more of us. Got a Facebook account? A whackload of pictures on Flickr? Odds are there are complete strangers who know about you — and maybe even talk about you.” By Clive Thompson on The Age of Microcelebrity

I love having a Twitter and Facebook and getting to know our clients and potential new clients through them – what I didn’t realize I was doing was building my own little fan club. A small support group of interested strangers who encourage and support me and offer amazing advice. While no where near the fame of Jasmine Star or Jessica Claire – I appreciate my small amount of microcelebrity.

Microcelebrity can be a powerful thing – as the two aforementioned women have shown. They have used their adorable personalities and photographic talent to boost their businesses and create their personal brands. I haven’t quite found the niche for how to use my microcelebrity yet – but I know that someday it will play into marketing in a way I haven’t yet thought of.

How are you building and using your microcelebrity? Are you using it as the powerful marketing tool that it is?

“Make no mistake about it, when it comes to social media, authenticity and personal branding matter. I’m also a big believer in the concept of microcelebrity. And when we’re more concerned about being on the social media superhighway than we are about being authentic to the people in our virtual community, people will notice.”   FC Expert Blogger Shawn Graham on Social Media & Authenticity

Image of Katie above courtesy of AltF.com 2008


Kicking Out the Ladder

Somehow, I ended up watching this random Honda documentary video today – and found myself completely inspired.

Basically, the video is telling you to “send them upstairs, kick out the ladder and set it on fire.”

This kick out the ladder concept is about putting enough pressure on yourself, your team, your business – that you will outperform what you think you can. They do this by making public promises and then forcing themselves to keep them – announcing costs before they’ve even completed the project – setting productivity rates impossibly high.

Here at Fotoworks Pro, we’re going to have to spend some time this week thinking about how we’re going to kick out our own ladder and set fire to it. We need to take a long, hard look at where we are and where we want to be and put those goals out into the public eye so that we’re forced to follow through.

How are you going to kick out your ladder?

-Katie

Fan Freaking Tastic Fusion


Seth and Dionna from Braedon Flynn on Vimeo.

You can choose to hear the title of this post in whatever tone you wish. I mean it both ways. On a positive, light-hearted note, I mean that the above video shot by the fabulous Braedon Flynn is absolutely gorgeous & breathtaking – a fabulous example of fusion. But if you can imagine my voice dripping with sarcasm, I think the whole concept of fusion is fan freaking tastic.

Maybe I’m just a little down on the whole thing right now after watching the Photo Fusion tour video – it got me a little freaked out. “You will not be hired” if you don’t shoot both video & stills. Wow. Pretty ballsy claim if you ask me. But, I understand their point about falling behind the times and technology and well, they want you to go to their workshop. (And I am not knocking their workshop in any way – I’m dying to go!).

What are your thoughts on where the industry is headed as we begin to combine video with photography? Do you have a plan for it? Are you already incorporating it?

I realized early this morning that I have a unique perspective in the industry to offer – I’m 22, I was engaged and had to pick a photographer and have been through that process. I’m pretty darn close to your target demographic and I’ve already been through the ringer of wedding photographer hunting. I’ll start sharing some of my insights on all of that as the days go on, but today I have to tell you – if I were booking my photographer today, I’d demand this “fusion” thing. I’m not too into my whole day being captured on video, but the first kiss, first dance and maybe even the bouquet toss? Oh yeah. I so want that on video. So a photographer who could offer me dynamic coverage of my wedding with their dramatic images and a little bit of video is the one I would hire.

In other news, today is the first day of Spring. Hope you all enjoy the weekend!

All the Best,

Katie Johnson

The Icing on the Cake

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I love hearing all of the incredibly unique and sweet ways our photographers go the extra mile for their brides. Some stay for more time than they were contracted for. Some manage to print an 11×14 in between the ceremony and reception to display (the guests find this to be quite “magical”). Some deliver “proofs” on iPods. I’ve even heard stories of photographers who have saved the day by sending their assistants out to buy more ice, a new pair of pantyhose for the mother of the bride and even one who “accidentally” (at the request of the bride) knocked a glass of wine on to an all too-revealing Mother of the Bride’s dress.

These stories are what create word of mouth advertising. Going out of your way for your brides takes creativity, drive and effort but it is well worth it when they start telling their friends about your excellent service.

I saw these fun portraits on the Wedding Chicks Blog and thought I would share them with you. PhunkLab is an awesome company you can order from via their store on Etsy (if you’ve never used Etsy before, don’t start until you’ve got some free time on your hands – it’s addictive!). They take an image (I’m thinking, first dance portrait would be fun) and turn them into unique, modern works of art. They’ll design and print for you or you can purchase just the design from them and have it printed here at Fotoworks PRO or from the amazing canvas masters at Simply Canvas.

What ways do you go above and beyond for your brides? Do you add anything extra after the wedding as a “thank you” for them choosing you? Share with our community of PROs by leaving a comment below.

It’s a beautiful day here in Orange County, CA and we hope you’re enjoying your day as much as we are here at Fotoworks Pro.

All the Best,

Katie Johnson

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A cold pint– and another one!

Whether it be the “luck o’ the Irish” or pure and simple hard work, we are excited to welcome so many new customers to Fotoworks Pro. Over the last year, I have really enjoyed getting to work one on one with many of you and get to know you and your businesses better – I look forward to doing the same with many of our new customers.

Our staff at Fotoworks Pro is committed to delivering personal service that fits your unique needs. One of those needs that we’re going to start meeting – is your need to have high quality album prints delivered straight to your album binder.

We currently have a direct pick-up from Leather Craftsmen available as a choice from our site – but we are now proud to offer free drop-shipping to any album fulfillment company. Simply choose the drop ship option on the order form, fill in the box with your album company’s name and address and any special instructions for handling. We make sure your album prints are in numerical order according to their image file numbers and print a storyboard to go along with them.

The other change we’re making to our services regards our regular drop shipping – from now on the return address on all drop ship orders will feature your studio’s name and our return address. That way, your client sees that the package is coming from you, but if there is a UPS issue the package still gets shipped back to us.

We have high hopes that these changes will help take unnecessary steps out of your workflow (unpacking our prints to ship them to your album company or to your client). If you have any questions about these new services, please contact me and I would be more than happy to help you out. I love getting to interact with our customers!

If you know any great Irish toasts for us to use in our celebrating tonight – comment below!

Cheers to a memorable and safe Saint Patrick’s Day!
Katie Johnson

Just Another Manic Monday

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Mondays. The beginning of the week. The furthest day from the weekend. I love my job and even I have a case of “the Mondays” today.

Battling against everything in me that wants to stay in weekend mode and veg out in front of my TV watching episode after episode of Big Love, I will force myself to have a productive Monday.

Because I believe that what you do on Monday, the way you start your week, sets the tone for how the rest of your week will go.

If you don’t have the driven, excited attitude you should for this week – fake it till you make it. Your photography business depends on your ability to passionately attack each day with hope and excitement. Book that wedding! Sell that wall portrait! Create a new marketing campaign! Spend this Monday doing something that will motivate you and help you keep that momentum throughout the week.

If you’re battling the Mondays like I am – I highly suggest watching (or re-watching as the case may be) Mike Judge’s hysterical workplace comedy Office Space – and be thankful that as a PRO photographer, you don’t have TPS reports to fill out or a cubicle to sit in.

“Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door – that way Lumbergh can’t see me, heh heh – and, uh, after that I just sorta space out for about an hour. I just stare at my desk; but it looks like I’m working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I’d say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.” – Ron Livingston as Peter Gibbons, Office Space

Cheers to Monday!
Katie Johnson

And Now For The Real Good News, Share This With Your Friends

Here’s a newsletter I got from Steve Harmon, an analyst with another perspective. Maybe the media has been focusing on the glass is 10% empty.

Daily the media reminds all of us of ‘chicken little’ and creates a kind of negative do-loop that doesn’t recognize the hard-working people in the US, UK, China, Japan, Asia, Europe, etc. that are paying their bills, managing their money, paying their taxes, and are being asked to bail out the “experts” who marketed mortgages to people who never should have “qualified” for them in the first place.

It may not be easy but these are the ones the media isn’t congratulating. So this is a congratulations I’d like to share with you, some real good news, that, if shared side by side with the negative stuff the media spews out, would dwarf the bad stuff.

The problem with the media is it doesn’t know how to report good things. It doesn’t know how to balance a story. It exists to shock and awe you in order to sell advertising. Plain and simple.

Actually, it’s time for some good news. Enjoy this breath of fresh air:

7 out of 8 homes in America are being paid for by hard-working people who qualified for the mortgage they have and continue to pay.

90% of adult Americans are employed.

Car dealers in China sold 25% more cars in February vs. January, or 1.56 million cars.

Car dealers in the U.S. sold 1.35 million cars in February (which has only 28 days in it). That’s 48,214 cars sold every day of February or…2,009 per hour for 24 hours all month long or…33 cars every minute of the day or…1 car sold every two seconds for 24 hours for the entire month

Hold on…there’s more.

Honda’s sales in China are up 16% vs. a year ago as its government introduced a tax cut on new vehicle purchases. GM, Toyota, VW and others forecast good demand in Asia.

G’ day…

94.8% of adult Australians are employed.

What? no soup lines there…

91% of adult Europeans (across the entire European Union) are employed.

But the real story is not negative, it’s positive. It’s about honest people who make the world go round. That’s you and I. Copy this into your email, friend networks, and blogs, share this with at least 10 of your fellow hard-working friends. The real news is hard to come by.

And keep up the good work.

ROES Troubleshooting

We had a few reports of errors when installing ROES. Softworks, the developer of ROES, has a few troubleshooting tips posted on their website. We gathered the information and posted it here. Please give us detailed feedback of any problems or issues. We will address them immediately.

Mac OS 10.5 Leopard Startup Error ‘Failed to validate certificate’ error
A ‘Failed to validate certificate’ error has shown up on 10.5 systems upgraded from 10.4, particularly on the Core 2 Duo systems that recently got Java 1.6 into Leopard via Software Update.

To resolve these startup errors, using Finder go into Java Preferences (open Finder, select Applications, the Utilities folder, the Java folder, then open Java Preferences.app) and look on the first tab under the Java Application Runtime Settings.

The Java versions loaded will all be listed to the left, and what we have found is that J2SE 1.4.2, the oldest version, is listed first.  Drag and drop the higher Java versions so they display in descending order, starting with Java/J2SE 6 64 bit (if present, otherwise just Java/J2SE 6), then J2SE 6, the 5.0, then 1.4.2.  Once arranged, click Save and ROES should open fine from the shortcut or lab web link.

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Startup Error ‘Illegal Argument Exception’
The Leopard OS and Java updates to it have caused an Illegal Argument Exception error to come up at startup on systems that have run the program before.

The common denominator seems to be the moving of the desktop icon to the dock or into an Applications folder from the desktop.  The safest steps to resolve this are to clear the Temporary Internet Files from Java and delete the shortcuts from the dock or Applications folder to get everything cleared.  To clear the Java Temporary Internet Files, open Finder and go to Applications – Utilities – Java and open Java Preferences.app.  At the bottom of the first tab there will be either a Delete Files button (click and click OK through to clear the applications/applets) or a Settings button (click Settings then Delete Files in the new window).

Windows ROES Launch Errors
We have had a number of reports from different labs seeing this error at startup:

java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: com.softworks.roes.app.ROESApp

at java.net.URLClassLoader$1.run(Unknown Source)

at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)

at java.net.URLClassLoader.findClass(Unknown Source)

at com.sun.jnlp.JNLPClassLoader.findClass(Unknown Source)

at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)

at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)

at com.sun.javaws.Launcher.doLaunchApp(Unknown Source)

at com.sun.javaws.Launcher.run(Unknown Source)

at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)

In each case clearing the Temporary Internet Files from Java Control Panel worked, as follows:

Open Windows Control Panel, then double-click Java in the list to get the Java Control Panel
Click Settings… in Temporary Internet Files at the bottom of the General tab
Click Delete Files…
Click OK at the prompt to remove all applets and applications, etc.
Click OK to exit out of Java Control Panel

Start ROES from the lab web site link

Apple 10.4 ROES Launch Issues
Apple released a Java update for the OS X 10.4 operating system this morning.  After performing the update desktop or application shortcuts failed to successfully launch the ROES client.  In our testing no error messages were received, just a couple of bounces of the application icon in the dock followed by zero activity.

Have your customers perform the following steps to correct the problem:

1) Using the Finder go to Applications, Utilities, Java and launch Java Web Start.  This should open the Java Application Cache Viewer window.

2) In the Application Cache Viewer window highlight your labs ROES application.  CTRL-Click on it or select the Application pull down from along the top of the screen and select “Remove Desktop Application”.

3) CTRL-Click on it or select the Application pull down again and select “Create Desktop Application”.  Set the name and location and select OK.

ROES should now be able to launch using the newly created desktop application shortcut.

SoftWorks Systems Team

MAC OS X 10.5 Leopard Compatibility
We have had several reports of startup issues with MAC OS X 10.5 Leopard that came out last Friday.  Apple integrated a later version of Java 1.5, the same base Java that was in 10.4, into Leopard.

We issued an update for the ROES Client when Leopard first became available for a few minor appearance and function issues we found, however the program is working fine from what we have seen.  Our testing involved a fresh install of the OS from the retail DVD, an upgrade from 10.4 using the Apple Developer release via download, and an upgrade from 10.4 using the retail DVD.

The fresh install to a clean disk ROES works fine as each initial attempt was a fresh startup from a web link.  We have uncovered an issue with the upgrade installs when using the shortcuts from 10.4.  It appears that the saved desktop shortcuts do not appear to be linked properly to the older Java cache from 10.4, and clicking them does not start anything.  However, we were able to start ROES using the Java cache window, where the launch of the saved application was treated as a fresh start – downloading the ROES files and then running as normal.  This can be found by going into Finder, selecting Applications, then Utilities, then Java, and opening the Java Web Start app.

Using the Java Web Start to launch ROES appeared to re-link the Java cache, as the old shortcuts worked again after the application had been run once from the cache window.  We will continue to test the ROES Client in OS X 10.5 to look for any other issues.

The ROES Retail applet and ROES Stand Alone Server also are working as expected, for the ROES Stand Alone Server the same method of startup (using Java Web Start) is advised, with the saved shortcut from 10.4 responding again after the initial launch from the application cache.

We have not encountered any OS-level errors like a few reports have mentioned, where the startup fails and generates a report that can be sent to Apple.  If these should still occur launching from Java Web Start, we advise the users to re-install the 10.5 upgrade, as something is failing at the operating system level that shouldn’t.

SoftWorks Systems Team