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Messages - Randy McKown

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1
Off Topic / Re: Windows XP Support Ends April 8th
« on: March 16, 2014, 20:03 »
rescued Apple when it was on the verge of distinction, because Microsoft sells software for Macs.)

you mean people actually install Office for Mac on their systems ... ewww  :P

2
Yawn .. sales are declining / the sky is falling .. whatever. We're looking at an infographic based on vague stats covering a short time span .. all market's fluctuate. You could create another infographic displaying broader stats going back to film or even the early digital era and it would tell a completely opposite story with sales now booming (taking normal flux into consideration) .. sooooo what if the general public actually does stop buying mass quantities of cheap DSLRs? .. ummmm I guess camera manufacturers will go back to the same profit margin that kept them in business during the century prior to the "everybody thinks they're a photographer" trend.  :P

3
I seriously doubt internet shopping had anything to do with Calumet closing up. First time I shopped with them was in the 1980's and I've never stepped foot in one of their physical locations .. most of their customers haven't. Funny enough both the popular mom n pop stores here in my area have expanded their stores while NOT embracing online shopping .. sounds like Calumet had one too many bad executives that should have been fired before the business flopped.

4
Amazing.  Scorching, suffocating summer heat is the summer norm in my part of Florida.  Amazing that some of the rest of the country can't function in it?!

Hey now !!!! I can function just fine thank you very much .... I just do a lot of crying and moaning at the same time. ;)

5
No internet problems .... but ... my electric bill last month was over $500 because the AC was running 24/7 just to keep the house at 76 degrees. I'd rather have internet problems. LOL

6
Everybody is freaking out over this. Seriously??? The top retouchers only edited 250 images in an ENTIRE 24 hr day. LMAO !!!! That's like 3 hours worth of work. I sure hope they weren't compensated much .. I'd be like you're fired ... you're fired .. hey you hiding behind the water cooler .. ummm yeah you're fired too.

7
Microstock News / Re: $500 For Every 500 Photo Guarantee
« on: March 14, 2012, 19:29 »
Ha .. I wondered why people were hitting my blog for an article that was deleted a couple years ago.

8
Depends on what his workshop is about .. is it about his shooting style (pass) .. or is it about successfully building, branding & marketing a wedding business .. if so you're investment could be justified in a single weekend unless you're just a newb playing pro. So in that respect I don't see anything wrong with a $16K workshop ... On the other hand the workshop itself is more or less an branding strategy in itself. What percentage of you had never heard of him before ??? because you sure as s^%t have now haven't you .. learn from that.

9
General Stock Discussion / Re: Yuri new studio..!
« on: February 24, 2011, 19:33 »
Hi Randy,

 Great observation and hats off for your work with the PPA we need more people like yourself around.

Best,
Jonathan

Thanks Jonathan. I don't even belong to the PPA but I'm a big believer in professional photographers helping one another to improve the industry as a whole.

In that respect, I tend to perceive stock photography as "business to business". Selling images online through agents, I have very little  - if any - interaction with clients,

which gives even more reason for the need to establish a greater sense of value and over the top recognition in any way you possibly can ... who do you want to impress people with big budgets or people with low budgets? Do you want to sell to the people that just stumble across you by chance or do you want to sell to the people who make the effort to track you down?

10
General Stock Discussion / Re: Yuri new studio..!
« on: February 24, 2011, 17:06 »
That might apply in the family portrait business but certainly not in the commercial world, quality of work aside, easy access, free parking, wifi and a good coffee machine will beat "rich, elegant and valuable" every single day of the week. As for stock images apart from the obvious fact of being able to use the settings in your image what your studio looks like won't make a single difference.

It's a lovely studio with lots of lovely kit which would be a joy to work in, but the one and only thing that matters about a studio is what comes out of it.

Doesn't apply to the commercial world??? It applies to all worlds. It doesn't matter if you're selling photography services or toasters for peoples kitchens. I can go to Wal-Mart and buy a plain white cotton tshirt off the clearance rack for $3 or I can go to a store in the country club plaza and buy the same shirt for $50. Either way it's a plain white cotton shirt. So, what makes the difference? Wal-Mart has a 90 yr old woman wearing a blue smock with a yellow happy face on it greeting me when I walk in the door. The store at the plaza has atmospheric lighting, designer dressed 20 yr old girls behind the counter, hardwood floors, trendy music, pleasant fragrances in the air, art on the walls, modern decor that isn't for sale and serves no purpose only to take up space and make the place look good and when I leave they don't throw my items in a thin plastic bag that rips before I get to my car. They neatly fold my shirt and place it in a designer bag with their branding graphics on it and a little thank you note stuck inside. Appearance of the business directly effects the value of the services and products for more industries than I can count .. photography included.

In terms of microstock photography, if Yuri would have invested in that studio and not shown it then no it wouldn't have any effect on his business. That's not the case though. He did show it and now that concept of luxury is associated with his name. Even if people dont realize it consciously it's still in the back of their minds. That is far more powerful than having 4 beauty dishes and however many lights there was in that video.

WOW. I' really really impressed with your insights. Thanks for not being plain and average. Good post indeed

I have a business themed workshop coming up in a couple weeks for the Professional Photographers of America. I'm down for speaking 9 hours in one day so I'm thinking I might kill some extra time by throwing in a section on defining value through atmosphere .. maybe project a couple video clips from your old bright white studio and the new elegant one as an example and discuss the differences in terms of consumer perception of value. So thanks for posting .. it'll give me a few extra minutes to rest my voice and sit back while they watch the clips for comparison. LOL :)

11
General Stock Discussion / Re: Yuri new studio..!
« on: February 23, 2011, 14:45 »
Photographers honestly wanting to learn something about the business of photography from that video stop looking at the gear. That's really not what's impressive about it at all. What's truly impressive about that video is all the wood molding, beautiful floors, columns and ceiling tiles. A successful photography studio is primarily based on marketing. Which doesn't just mean forms of advertising media. A big portion of that is atmosphere. Your environment reflects on your work even if the environment is completely invisible in your work. If people see your studio atmosphere as rich, elegant and valuable then the services and products you supply are obviously valuable .. regardless of if they are or not.

If somebody told you they would give you $100K in equipment or only $10K to invest in your appearance as a professional which would you choose? Only a fool would take the gear. So if it's a tossup between another lens and hardwood flooring .. go with the flooring.

Awesome studio space and a big improvement over the greenhouse idea. If you really want to start posting videos regarding educational information though I think you should focus on psychology and marketing. That's where you would honestly shine best and make an impact on photographers striving to succeed. Kudos :)

12
I would say, if you are only taking the images that sell but dislike the process, yes-you would be better at a traditional job.  There are also many ways to make money with photography, such as weddings.  I do what I want; no weddings, no portraits, no crying babies, etc.

I had a baby poop on a shag carpet in the studio last week .. it stunk .. it was messy .. because .. well it was poop in shag carpet .. but it was 30 mins of work behind the camera, 5 mins in photoshop and 10 minutes of showing their pictures .. and they walked out after writing a check for $450 .. at $10 a minute I can deal with the occasional poopy. LOL

Oh and to stay on track of the topic .. do I make that much selling micro? BWAHAHAHAHA ... no. So yes it's an underpaid job for me. But it helps with the tax deductions so it makes up for it in the end ... sorta LOL

Did you take a picture of the poop and submit it somewhere? That's gotta be a best seller right there. Especially poop on shag.

LMAO nope no poostock .. I make it a rule never to involve my paid clients in stock including their poo poo

13
I would say, if you are only taking the images that sell but dislike the process, yes-you would be better at a traditional job.  There are also many ways to make money with photography, such as weddings.  I do what I want; no weddings, no portraits, no crying babies, etc.

I had a baby poop on a shag carpet in the studio last week .. it stunk .. it was messy .. because .. well it was poop in shag carpet .. but it was 30 mins of work behind the camera, 5 mins in photoshop and 10 minutes of showing their pictures .. and they walked out after writing a check for $450 .. at $10 a minute I can deal with the occasional poopy. LOL

Oh and to stay on track of the topic .. do I make that much selling micro? BWAHAHAHAHA ... no. So yes it's an underpaid job for me. But it helps with the tax deductions so it makes up for it in the end ... sorta LOL

14
General Stock Discussion / Re: PayPal and the new IRS tax law
« on: February 16, 2011, 22:41 »
I don't see what the fuss is either .. the only reason one should be bothered by the form is if they're involved in tax evasion  .. that's the only people this will have an effect on. If you want to evade some taxes do it the right way and start using your camera for cash. LOL

Do you fall into the category that will get double 1099's on the same money?  Meaning do you collect over 200 payments and over 20k from paypal annually?  If not, this doesn't affect you, so I can see why you wouldn't understand what the fuss is about. 

yeah I'll be doing the paperwork so it effects me but my income streams are also not limited to only paypal. I'm also keeping books on who pays with cash, who pays by check, who pays by credit card, who is on a payment plan, who is in our rewards program, what rewards are due, federal tax, state tax, sales tax, use tax, etc. .. so in the course of operating a photography business what's the big deal with one more form every year. It's one very tiny form and it's not effecting my income so who cares.

The only tax related complaints I have is on how slow it is for all the agencies to get the paperwork out. All my income and expenses for my studio were tracked, filed and ready to go Dec. 31. Today is Feb 16 and have I completed all of my responsibilities? No because I'm waiting on the micro portion of it to all get here. That's more annoying to me than the government trying to fight back against tax evaders.

15
General Stock Discussion / Re: PayPal and the new IRS tax law
« on: February 16, 2011, 17:13 »
I don't see what the fuss is either .. the only reason one should be bothered by the form is if they're involved in tax evasion  .. that's the only people this will have an effect on. If you want to evade some taxes do it the right way and start using your camera for cash. LOL

16
General Stock Discussion / Re: Are we really doing it right??
« on: November 22, 2010, 22:54 »
People might think they are losing income by neglecting sites who produce a smaller percentage of that income. However, you have to evaluate your business model. Are you spending time on those smaller sites? How much time? Could you take that time and redirect towards the sites producing a higher percentage of your income? It's similar to marketing your photography in any field. Who do you want to target? Do you want to spend your time shooting for clients who will pay you $500, $800, $1000 an hour ... or do you want to spend all day goofing around for a couple hundred bucks? My moto is leave the chump change for the chumps.

17
pretty stupid .. why should they make a form for paypal .. will my bank be sending me a 1099-K .. highly doubt it. But oh well .. until they invent a form that reads your mind and logs all the cash transactions I could care less.  :P

18
iPhone, receipt book, extra pen, couple hundred bucks in assorted bills, business cards, and some Tylenol

19
General Stock Discussion / Re: HDR: Why all the controversy
« on: October 18, 2010, 14:23 »
I don't think that HDR itself is hurting the industry. I think that 99% of the HDR images out there suck a big one and those photographers make the industry look lame. However, that has to do with bad photographers not bad technology.

20
General Stock Discussion / Re: EIN Number Question
« on: October 14, 2010, 13:14 »
I have an EIN but only because I own a full time photography studio. If I was simply doing micro I honestly wouldn't worry about it. I'd imagine the odds of your identity getting stolen through interaction with a (non-suck) agency is microscopic compared to all your other daily encounters in life.

21
Off Topic / Re: Ergonomic mouse or touch tablet?
« on: October 08, 2010, 10:39 »
Following your advice,i ordred this mouse on ebay last sunday and got it today,it work just great very efficient and accurate,i don't have to move my wrist at all...

Thanks Gostwyck this is an excellent product.

Delighted to help __ it's much cheaper than one of those fancy tablets too.

Your so right,i paid $34 US with shipping included,shipped from California to Qubec Canada,almost coast to coast in 4 days!

That's a pretty good price including 4 day shipping across the country. I normally just run down the street and grab one off the shelf at best buy for $40. Which reminds me I was going to go buy another one today. I have to replace these things several times a year .. but they are awesome and well worth it.  ;D

22
General Stock Discussion / Re: Next site to go under?
« on: October 08, 2010, 10:30 »
I don't understand those feeling they must "support" non-producing sites.

Because they aren't serious about the business side of photography .. they're just playing pro photographer when there's nothing to watch on TV. So they will waste time "supporting" bad business and allow big business to walk all over them until there is no good business left standing.

23
Manfrotto carbon-fiber tripod
99% of the time you will not need one. I specialize in portraiture and mine isn't even at the studio. It's in my basement at home somewhere.
Manfrotto ballhead
same thing here
A better monopod + accessories (a la Yuri-style)
You mean a la entourage photographer that looks cool in a video to impress other photographers but holds little weight when working with real people on a day to day basis. It's not practical and you don't need it.
5-in-1 Reflector (Lastolite probably)
Here you go and make them big. I actually find a White/Gold more useful than a 5/1. I always carry two a 42" and a 4'x6'. The 4'x6' gets used more than anything. Perfect for reflecting and blocking in outdoor portraits. Who cares what the brand is. I buy what's cheap or on sale because I know it's going to be shoved into tree branches, blown over rocks into the water and basically abused until I need to replace it. They all work the same.
Reflector stand
I don't use them. A person with two hands works much better.
Handheld 33" diffuser
Just buy the two mentioned above.
Adobe Lightroom software
Don't use it. Don't need it but would advise it for people who can't afford photoshop.
Sekonic light meter
For shooting on a daily basis you honestly don't need one in the studio. You can find uses for one but you dont need one. Spend the afternoon going through and tweeking your setups, write them down, memorize them. If you're new to artificial lighting then yeah buy a cheap one.
More Compact Flash cards
Think before you shoot .. shoot it right .. and you don't need much. I honestly would have to go look in my bag to tell you what's in there .. it's either two 8GBs or 16GBs
Pocketwizard II (x2)
I use the trigger system that was included with my lights. Never needed to shop for another brand.
Alien Bee 800s
Everybody always talks about needing 800, 1600 lights. It's basically guys sitting around talking about how big their watts are. In our studio you'll find 300 watt lights powered WAY WAY down. The only reason I use the 300s is because the brand I use doesn't make anything lower with variable knobs. You don't want strobes with full/half switches. An exception would be when you have a client scheduled for mid-day outdoors using non-shaded locations and no clouds overhead. Even then all you need is their back to the sun and a 300 with a softbox on it .. 42" octagon is a good size. Btw, this is also a want not a need. Personally I don't use Alien Bees. I've used so many brands over the last couple decades .. lights are lights just don't buy cheap ebays from China.
Chimera large softbox
Brand is not important but I use 6' Octagon in the studio .. plus some 3'x4' ones .. and a snoot
Polarizing & Gradient filters
Got em ... never end up using them.


The tools that get the most use from me on a daily basis are .. 4'x6' reflector and an expodisc .. Those two things get used on every single session and in a lot of cases that's all I need to get the job done right and efficiently.

24
Off Topic / Re: Ergonomic mouse or touch tablet?
« on: September 30, 2010, 15:20 »
Tablets are awesome however they also involve wrist movement which in your case might not be as comfortable or productive. So I would second the trackball suggestion ... I would never recommend a traditional mouse for anything to be honest.

25
General Stock Discussion / Re: Next site to go under?
« on: September 30, 2010, 00:40 »
Here in a few years Wal-Mart will get into the microstock game and then all of them will die off.

Walmart? Nah. Maybe Google.

Google is too busy getting ready to attack Apple and Facebook which I'm really looking forward to so let's not give them any more ideas right now.  ;D

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