GREETINGS and THE MARKET
A FEW UPDATES
Business wise a camera store can be a disaster financially these days. At one time Pinellas County, FL and Hillsboro County, FL had eleven full line camera stores. I had one and friends had the others. Then at a PMAI meeting in Vegas, a decade back, my Nikon rep, actually his boss, the US sales manager told us about “Big Box Stores” and the growth of the Web with players like B&H and Adorama.
And how they would dominate and control the market. I never bothered to speak to him again. Very negative in my mind, unfortunately he was right except he failed to mention the smart cell phone would destroy it even faster. Thousands of camera stores closed and the count is now measured in the hundreds. I got out of that end seeing the handwriting on the wall.
Today, there are no stores in either county. There is one small store located 25 miles north in Pasco County and one 30 miles south in Manatee County, however, none of any consequence going east to Orlando. Even a biggie in Miami closed. Thus a fifty mile by one hundred mile corridor equals a lot of square miles of nothing. But after that you have to go East Coast and thats literally the state. Like everyone else, what I can’t order from friends still in the business, I go Amazon or other vendors.
Surprisingly both Nikon and Canon (Read the Japanese Financials for the real stories not rumors) are in decline significantly for many reasons, loss of competitiveness, lack of Chinese customers buying SLRs in Japan, compact point and shoots replaced by cellphones with ever better cameras built in and a method for sending it, lack of retail stores to sell the higher end complex cameras and most millennials so accustomed to buying and throwing away things, the smartphone has eaten up the available cash and time. Average phone bill is 100-150 per month, that would buy you a nice camera.
On the retail side, less reps, less deals, lower profits, less credit deals most purchases are 30 days period, fast model changes, in some cases quality, and profit margins are down.
Lets call it what it really is, the smartphone and connectivity has replaced the cigarette as the status of our society.
LIGHTENING THE LOAD
I have been accumulating Photographic Equipment for years, since I needed the gear for my personal shooting and for developing battery packs and solutions. And when I had my store, we took in trades and so forth.
In addition, my associate and I went to auctions, and as members of IPI and PRO went to stores that were closing, owners retiring, and I have at my disposal a lot of legacy equipment in excellent condition and available for immediate shipment. Equipment I just pitched in the closet, some of it new. All of it works perfect and are cleaned up and ready to go.
I have simply run out of room with my slide conversion business going bonkers and clearing out the legacy gear gives me a whole new storage area. There is a list of items I wish to sell, I have bought my last collection, I am retiring from any more buying... I have little usage so time for someone else to get good stuff at reasonable prices. Contact me and I will eMail you the entire list.
I will be available working from 6:00 am to 12:00 (Noon) daily by phone and email having fun from twelve on with my new large printer and producing images, encouraging wall imagery for a hospital Cancer project. I am a Cancer care-giver working with stem-cell transplanted survivors and a few other volunteer charitable jobs. Good imaging is crucial in these medical establishments, and vacations will be spent on a nice cruise ship, sipping Margaritas, watching sunrises and sunsets finally relaxing.
SERVICES and PRODUCTS I PROVIDE
THE BLACK BOX
LONG DISTANCE POWER
The Black Box, the HD power pack was made for extended time range, heavy shooters in the wedding, event, sports, forensic, and commercial fields and are still made by my hands, soldered and built one at a time in the USA from the best components I can find which is difficult these days. I have been building packs and other equipment for the photo industry for close to fifty-five years.
And thats the way it’s been from the beginning, we designed things for the professional, specifically for the guys who make or want/have/need to make a living out of the Photography Business.
Call me old school but old school works and new school gets thrown off airlines and starts fires. Because of our Black Box designs, our power packs still hang in there since upgrades are more like simple maintenance.
We are different from others in which enormous amounts of money are needed to sustain the products. It's called simplicity. And that keeps the product up to speed, and usable for minimal cost for a long, long, time.
Using our system, that can be as much as 6000-plus shots at reduced power. It does not include flash cables for your specific flash unit. No excuses, we build, you use, products work, you make money.
Experience is a great teacher, so are disasters, but disasters are not so great, but can make a lasting impression. If you have to reach for the camera manual when the bride is having a meltdown, go back to flipping burgers and have a cheese melt-down. It’s safer.
SLIDE 2 DIGITAL
AUTOMATED SCANNING - Our Way!
Our newest product and a chance for you to make money is with the S2D Slide to Digital operating system.
You have customers, friends, relatives, and possibly a closet, garage, basement filled with Ektachrome, Kodachrome, Fuji Chrome and Agfa Chrome slides slowly degaussing and gathering dust. Somewhere out there are estimated six billion plus slides.
Most likely parked with a broken unfixable Kodak Carousel going or already useless as there are no parts and few work on them. The solution, turn the sides into digital and you can make money offering this service.
When you just have a few weddings on the books, here is a related product that can profitably fill in the gaps. In fact one user in New England is doing more slides than Weddings now. The Wedding market is changed and so have other events with the advent of smart phones and the Mamma’s and the Papas’ with their Canon Rebel or Nikon 3300.
Our new Slide 2 Digitizing unit which is a fast as predicted
offers the following:
• 800 full frame sharp quality slides per hour
• High Resolution imaging with enlargeable 24MP files.
• We print 24x30’s all the time from the huge files when the credit card machine says approved.
• Converting old slides into modern digital imaging formats and turning incredible profits with a two hour setup and learning curve.
• And a 2399.00 dollar investment, includes everything including a premium 24MP SONY Camera, special lens combo, works anywhere there is a table, no supplies, chemicals, no paper needed, totally self contained, and independent.
• The only other expenditures are DVDs, or thumb drives, business cards and a desk.
GODZILLA SIZE SLIDE SERVICE
We received some really odd slides at times (mostly really heavy duty European sealed monsters) that require special handling since they are so thick they cannot go through the S2D automatic digitizer.
Most are permanently mounted and removal might ruin the slide itself. It is entirely a manual operation and we can’t use the S2D.
Buried in the backroom and not used for thirty years, we found and I created an out of the box solution from an old Bowens Illumitran, circa 1979.
It went through a complete and dangerous rebuild, as it had to be completely gutted, an all-new LED system installed which is now safer and built to Jacobs Engineering Standards (Just say “JES”) If you need these slides done, totally manual .65 cents per slide retail .95 cents.
And I called it The Illumitron, being frugal, I only had to change one letter from “Illumitran”. ILLUMITRON.
⚠️Please heed the warning on doing this conversion yourself, if you can even find one to rebuild. The capacitor in it is 450 volts and if you desire permanent curly hair, curly toes and incontinence, make one mistake. We discharged the capacitor using welders gloves and a tire iron wrapped in a towel. My neighbor came running over swearing he heard a gunshot. It was that loud. The tire iron has a scar on it now.
THE WEDDING BOOK
MY BOOK IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN FREE
💒 For decades, as a shooter, wedding planner and wedding psychiatrist with 450+ weddings under the belt, I learned a lot from the myriad of Brides I photographed on their most important day and each one a rare and unique study into the self-imposed pressure chamber which promulgates like a viral creature from Mars during the Wedding Event.
Weddings to an outsider (thats you the shooter) are just like STAR WARS with each new wedding like a segment exposing something different just as Luke Skywalker experienced. There are those wonderful moments week after week that I have photographed gorgeous beautiful Brides and Grooms and Bridal parties you wished were cloned each week and this would be an ongoing nirvana.
But thats not life, it takes a different turn at times. Suddenly you get to see and witness the “The Dark Side”. A result of the high stress world today, the other extreme, when these beautiful baby blues turn into glowing red pustules where the eyes were must have been and it would scare you.
You would think they were daughters of the under-lord Mephistopheles. Blame it on TV and reality shows coaching this is how Brides act and what you are supposed to act like.
💒 The first section explains the people structure and the pitfalls, what to look out for and how to prepare to be smarter and avoid the uncommon occasional problem wedding of today.
💒 The second section is the most complete series of both mental structuring, and good business sense to succeed in this business for YOU, or any other endeavor for that matter. I taught sections of this for a large corporations and it will set you straight in the business.
💒 The third section of the guide is really pointers on gear and will be expanded as needed. No, I do not waste my time doing a review on the big threes latest model since it really won’t do anything spectacular and is nothing more usually than a breadboard or chip change because of chip development, renovation, supply and demand.
Which SONY releases a year after they use it on their equipment, and then sells or licenses to Nikon, Canon and five others. T The joke is usually on the two “ mouths” on a forum or in a store battling feature for feature who really aren’t in the loop.
🏟 Breaking down the phrase “Event Photography” into it’s two components in the equipment section simply means any occurrence or groups, or masses, in one place for an occasion is part one, and the recording or photographing said project is part two. Events are trade shows, corporate announcements or promotions, holidays, feel good morale boosters, weddings, banquets, proms, team sports, anniversaries, trade shows, fundraisers, political social enterprise, and more. More than twenty people, its an event.
🏛 Miscellaneous There are more and more photographers splitting their time as some markets decline and some prosper. The shooter has to be productive and I know some great wedding shooters who delve into other markets (sometimes with associates) to broaden their base. Quiceneras, Bar mitzvahs, Golf Tournaments, Pool Tournaments, almost any event counts and some turn out to be fun.
I did a presentation for Photographic Journalism during career day for a school and gave the teachers and kids enough business cards with a portrait offer and picked up a slew of family business, portraits and a Wedding. In this section, heres how, and what gear works and doesn’t.
OUR FULL SERVICE TAMPA BAY LABORATORY FOR
SLIDES PRINTS, BUSINESS CARDS
SAVE LOTS OF MONEY
🛠 A guide for " Do it Yourself " with great inexpensive products you can build yourself that work as well as the commercial overpriced stuff does. I love dreaming this stuff up. It’s humor for me. I am a student of simplicity with Advanced and Doctorate degrees from Ace Hardware, eBAY, Amazon, Lowes and Home Depot.
🛠 I find overpriced junk on the web all the time and paying a lot of money for something for one job is ludicrous. With some findings and ACE Hardware, a few common everyday tools you can build devices of better substance.
Your imagination is your guide. An entire plethora of inexpensive gizmos to make your life easier and they will do the same thing. This is my fun stuff because if I use what I built and likely it’s not needed any more , it comes apart and I make it into something else.
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
🛠 This additional tab houses feedback, incredibly great people I have had the fortune to meet, and much off the wall sometimes things I see and hear in the industry that I can rant about. The great folks I have had the privilege of being with and information it won’t hurt you to know something about. Almost anything can wind up in this section.
This website and my online free book “The Guide To Weddings and Making Money” has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and we make no claims it will cure any disease, or malady caused by shooting photos’s at Weddings or at worst someone from the wedding shooting you with something the NRA would be proud of.
No photographers, brides, grooms, horses, sheep or canines were injured during the writing of this book and if you cannot afford an attorney, my nephew will be available at the usual exaggerated attorney fees for malpractice cases so I can get my cut. We use two, sometimes three ICONS to represent certain circumstance.
"DIGGER" INDICATES UNDER CONSTRUCTION
NO SMOKE NO BULLSH*T - You are about to get truth.
Thoughts Deader than Casey's Balls
>>>>>> SOME OF MY OTHER <<<<<<
POLITICS, SEX, and RELIGION EXPOSED
"Things not spoken about except at the water cooler"
FOOD, FODDER and FOIE GRAS IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY
"How to get thrown out as a food critic, tell the truth"
THE CENTRAL COMMAND MEMORIAL
“Country Served - Mission Completed”
DIAL INDICATOR REPAIR
"Make your Indicator like New"
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