Big Boss Is Out Of Town – HUGE SALE!

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Shhhh!!! Be very quiet… you don’t want me to get caught, do you?

So Sam, in his infinite wisdom, left me in charge of the lab today (Friday). WOOO HOOO!!!!! Who’s coming down here for the party in our breakroom, I mean, “Disco Cafe?”

Ok fine, while I can’t quite sneak by with throwing a riotous party here at the lab, I can sneak in a little extra savings for you this weekend.

Place your order via our ROES software using promo code “boss1” and receive 10% off your ENTIRE ORDER! That means you can save 10% off your enlargements, your package prints, your album prints, whatever you so dream – 10% off it shall be.

Orders must be placed between Friday May 29 at 12:01 a.m. and Monday June 1st at 12:01 a.m. using the ROES software and containing promo code “boss1” to be valid.

And hey, if you enjoy the savings, be sure to leave me a comment here to let me know! I’m picking one winner from the comments to receive an extra $10 off their order! Let the games begin!

Your Loyal Secret Savings Agent,

Katie

Wedding Crashers – A funny but serious warning…

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While the above wedding crashers are ones we all hold near and dear, there was a news story published yesterday about a not so beloved wedding crasher.

After answering some questions about parent albums for a client yesterday, she asked if I had read the story in the OC Register about the photographer. I said no and she spelled out the link for me (which made me giggle as it was infinitely long). I read it and thought I just had to blog about it and get your insights.

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READ THE STORY HERE and leave us a comment with your thoughts on this blog. How do you protect your camera equipment from being stolen? After reading that are you going to change any current habits you have of setting your camera down?

I think these bags are awesome! I haven’t seen one or used one so I can’t give a firsthand account of their radtasticness – but – they sound pretty sweet to me! If you find yourself leaving your camera bag lying around, check out Pacsafe Anti-Theft Bags that feature:

  • Snatchproof shoulder strap with built-in combination lock not only anchors the bag to a secure fixture but locks it there as well
  • Tamperproof lockable zippers

All the best,

Katie Johnson

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Q&A with Katie: Archival Quality of Prints

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QUESTION: “How archival are your prints and how can my clients best take care of their prints?”

Here’s my easiest to understand “layman’s” ANSWER: All true “photographic prints” on archival paper are archival. Photographic prints don’t use ink – they go through a different process (one which has been explained to me a couple hundred times over the 6 years I’ve worked for photo labs and I still don’t really understand). But it is this process that gives them their archival quality.

Our “papers” are archival grade thus the prints should last about 100 years under the right circumstances.¬† Our pro grade paper is slightly thicker than standard consumer papers, has better color density (blacks look so black!) and in my opinion, it holds up to wear, tear and time much better.

I do a very small amount of photography work on the side and I know the immense pressure from clients to sell them a CD instead of having them purchase their prints directly from the photographer. I believe that selling them on the “pro-grade archival” prints that I have access to and they don’t (Costco and Walmart ain’t got nothing on Fotoworks Pro) helps a lot of them understand why my prints cost what they do and why they should order them from me. Often times I’ll share with them what I’ll share with you below:

While definitely not a scientific study – I have noticed that the prints I had made when I worked at a previous retail lab (on non-pro grade Fuji paper) fade, warp, tear and stick together significantly more than the prints I’ve had made on the Fuji pro paper. Even knowing the difference in price between the pro grade and consumer papers, I, personally, would ALWAYS choose to have all of my prints (even personal ones) printed on the Fuji Super PD (the pro grade paper).

Because, someday, my great grand kids are going to find a box of my photos in my attic. And my photos will be in pristine condition – unfaded, perfectly flat and they’ll get to see their great-grandma in all her young and colorful glory. ūüėÄ

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What will your future generations find of you? The same faded, yellowed, torn, stuck together and warped photographs we’ve had to deal with of our parents?

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Some extra information that may help you answer questions from your clients:

To care the best for your photographs, here are a few tips that I recommend if you’re looking to “archive” your photos for future generations:

1) Keep photographs out of high humidity areas or if they’re being kept in a high humidity area (I’m thinking beach houses that have moist air coming in through the windows or coastal areas) keep them in a tightly sealed container. This precaution really isn’t necessary in normal conditions.

2) Keep photographs out of direct sunlight to prevent fading. Archival papers really do protect the integrity of the paper – but the image will still fade under large amounts of direct sunlight – just like a fabric would.

3) If water gets spilled on an image, pat it dry as completely as possible and then let it air dry for several hours before putting it in a stack of photos, a frame, etc…. Even the slightest amount of water left on a print will cause it to stick to the glass in a frame after a period of time, or stick to other prints in the stack.

4) Do not leave photographs in high heat situations (such as inside a car on a hot day). They will curl up at the edges or, if in a stack, will absorb moisture in the air around them and stick together.

That might have been more information than you ever wanted, but I felt like answering the question thoroughly because I have a lot of first hand experience and have heard a lot of second hand stories that have given me great insight into caring for your prints. Plus, once I started answering it I figured I would just answer it as fully as possible for you.

Have a burning question for the experts? Let me know!
All the best,
Katie Johnson

Just For Kicks…

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We’ll be closed Monday – enjoying some time with family and friends – and look forward to being back Tuesday at 9 a.m. PST.¬† If you have questions or require assistance over the weekend, feel free to send me a tweet (@KatieFotoworks), a facebook message (Katie At FotoworksPro) or you can text me! (714)318-1926. HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!

I generally get a really good laugh out of many of the ads on Craigslist.com – but THIS SITE takes it to the next level.

Just wanted to post something to make you laugh.

Photographer Spotlight: Alisha Ekstrom of Oakstream Photography

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So sometimes I spaz out a¬† bit over new clients. And by spaz I mean, run all over the lab hollering “OH MY GOSH! Such and such just signed up as a new client and THEY ROCK!”

In particular, when Alisha Ekstrom of Oakstream Photography signed up I was a bit over the moon. See, Alisha and I were facebook friends and I was constantly fascinated by the fun, fresh images she posted there. I braved up one day and sent her an e-mail asking her if she’d consider giving us a try. When she put through her new client application you bet I ran through the lab like a whirling dervish (Oh, how much Sam must love having Hurricane Katie work for him).

One thing in particular I want to note about why Alisha’s work stood out to me: Her senior portraits. They’re age-appropriate, modern, artistic and well, I don’t know how she does it but she finds cooler places to shoot than anyone I know (big drawback to living in the OC – no big red barns or bitchin industrial junkyards).

When I asked Alisha about how she gets such amazing posing and genuine expression from her Seniors she said “I’m about having FUN…I talk ALOT during the shoot which makes the seniors feel comfortable…I laugh alot..I say things like…oh you’re BEAUTIFUL…GORGEOUS…YOU ROCK! This is sooo awesome….I mean it’s so hard to describe how or what I say. I am a VERY VERY friendly HAPPY, talkative person so even the shyest of seniors feel comfortable cause I ease their nervousness. I always compliment them on SOMETHING…their eyes, their hair, their clothes, their shoes….I stay POSITIVE & HYPER through the whole shoot!”

Alisha purchases her senior announcements from Jamie Schultz who I also HIGHLY recommend. I’ll be blogging about her awesome designs later this week.¬† Jamie Schultz Designs can be seen HERE.

Check out Alisha’s work HERE and make sure you leave her some Comment Love so she knows you stopped by!

Alisha, thanks for giving Fotoworks Pro a chance. I LOVE seeing your orders come through and even when I’m not working in the “lab” area that day, I always sneak back there to see just what kind of yummy goodness you’re printing with us!

Common Sense Customer Service

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The picture of the cake above made me laugh. Hard. And then I realized it’s the kind of mistake I would make when I’m unfocused. Ok, well, I don’t think I would ever be that ditzy – but I come close on days where I’m just off my game. I can imagine that phone call:

Bakery: Hello! How can I help you?

Customer: I’d like to order a cake that says “Best Wishes Suzanne,” and underneath that, “We will miss you!”

Bakery: Great, we’ll have it ready for you in an hour.

There are places I just absolutely refuse to go and companies I just can’t stand to support with my business. Kinko’s being #1 on the list. Along with that comes Rite Aid, Walmart, and our really terrible webhost.

One of the things we try to excel at here at Fotoworks Pro is having the best customer service possible. My favorite part of working for a company committed to excellence in this area is that I get to have a lot of “face time” with our clients and know all of them to some degree. I find such joy in knowing the names and general background of our clients and getting to connect with them personally.

I didn’t realize just how rare this was in our business until I decided to try out another lab. I figured ya’ll were doing it, so I should too. ;-D¬† When I sent out a vague Tweet about my experience, I got a lot of DMs asking for more details. So here it is:

Really, I wanted to see what areas that lab was doing better than we are and where we are surpassing them. There were a few things I learned from the experience that I am hoping will improve our services here – more info in future blog posts to come! But mainly, I was just really disappointed in the service I got. I didn’t want to type in my account number or wait on hold for 8 minutes and 34 seconds (yes, I timed) before I got to talk to a real person. And when I finally did get to talk to a real person, she didn’t call me by my name. Not once. And I’m assuming that since I had to put in my account number, she had to have it right in front of her.

This really isn’t meant to complain about another lab (note, I’m not even hinting at which one I tried) – it’s all just a preface to my quick sermon on customer service. Because in this economy, you can’t afford to lose a client just because your phone skills are a little lacking.

My top 5 tips for How to Win Me As A Client¬† – and yes, photographers, I am a 22 year old female (hello, can you say “demographic”?)

1. Ask me my name if I don’t give it to you and try to use it when speaking with me.

2. Smile. Definitely in person. Especially over the phone. When you smile it changes the tone in your voice and puts the person you’re speaking with at ease.

3. If someone gets upset with you and is beginning to raise their voice, just lower yours, slowly and subtly until they bring their volume back down. They’ll have to relax and be quiet themselves in order to hear you. This has worked WONDERS for me as it stops a conversation from escalating.

4. Don’t put your clients on hold. If you need a minute to figure out some information, take their number and promise a quick call back. People would rather get a return call than sit on hold at your mercy for 5 minutes.

5. Use common sense. Focus on what your doing so you don’t make “stupid” mistakes. If you can catch a client’s mistake they will be utterly grateful and spread the good word of your great intelligence. ;-D (ex. A client requests you print graduation announcements that say “Class of 2008” and you call and politely ask them if they meant Class of 2009).

What are your best tips for providing excellent customer service?

Aren’t You Afraid?

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As artists working in a creative industry, I believe most photographers have an intense passion for their work. This intense passion can lead to huge success if you aren’t blocked by your fear of failure.

This video from the TED conference of Elizabeth Gilbert (author of the book Eat Pray Love) I felt would be one that would make you think about your passion, your nature as an artist, and whether or not your encouraging your great creative mind to live for your passion and not act out of fear. It’s a little long, but I think it’s worth it. Let me know what you think!

Jetsetting

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As wedding seasons starts to hit hard, here’s an interesting note on flying with your equipment that I thought would be beneficial to ya’ll. Don’t forget to send us a postcard from your fabulous destination weddings!

You can carry on one bag of photographic equipment in addition to your one carry on and one personal item.

This is straight from the TSA website (http://www.tsa.gov/index.shtm)

Photographic Equipment & Film

Transporting Film and Photographic Equipment

Photographic Equipment

You may carry one (1) bag of photographic equipment in addition to one (1) carry-on and one (1) personal item through the screening checkpoint. ¬†The additional bag must conform to your air carrier’s carry-on restrictions for size and weight. ¬†Please confirm your air carrier’s restrictions prior to arriving at the airport.

Air carriers may or may not allow the additional carry-on item on their aircraft. Please check with your air carrier prior to arriving at the airport.

Our screening equipment will not affect digital cameras and electronic image storage cards.

Film

The equipment used to screen checked baggage will damage undeveloped film.  Pack your undeveloped film in your carry-on bag.  High speed and specialty film should be hand inspected at the security checkpoint.  To facilitate hand-inspection, remove your undeveloped film from the canister and pack in a clear plastic bag.

P.S. I highly recommend camera travel gear bags from ThinkThankPhoto.com …. made of high quality materials and built to last. Plus, you won’t believe the functionality and ease of packing and unpacking your equipment from these things!