I have been running ideas around over the past month about business decisions and opportunities. One of the concerns that came up is that when I converted from the point and shoot camera back in November, I was slightly ignorant. I knew that the upgrade would open up more photographing capability. However, I didn’t realize how much – which is a good thing with draw backs. All of the business decisions and opportunities I have been thinking about are in an effort to produce the best possible image that I am capable of getting.
I am currently in the process of looking at computer upgrades that I did not realize I would need to make. The reason for the computer upgrades, which include both hardware and software, is because I found out that my current system does not handle the version of raw that my camera shoots in [very well]. I am limited when I shoot raw, which is the highest quality and most versatile file type to work with. Raw is also the industry standard for professional photographers. Therefore, in order to be competitive, it makes sense to strive for the industry standards. I can shoot raw files and process them in camera or with the proprietary software, but it is somewhat limiting.
Another reason for the computer upgrades is that eventually I would like to do some in house printing. I have been learning more about image processing over the last month and am intrigued. One of the things that I am still learning about is getting the photo to look as close to what I saw/shot. The first step is obviously the camera [settings, preparation, and taking the photo]. The second step is processing and formatting the file to the proper output. The third is printing, if that is a desired output. It may take a little while, but printing in house has intrigued my interested.
The current online gallery works well for a lot of reasons. It reduces my workload to shooting and processing the photos. Once I upload the photos to the online gallery, sales and shipping is handled out of house. This is definitely a good option for me right now because I can focus more on what I need to do to shoot and process the files. However, there are some drawbacks to my current store setup. I am limited to pricing photos at the same value. There may be some post processing by the print lab. Between the photo I see on my screen to the photo that makes it to the consumer, there may be some discrepancies. The print lab is going to make changes for the type of paper the photo is printed on and make color adjustments based on the printer and ink they use. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I am striving to produce the best photo possible and the less discrepancy the better!
A few other ideas that I have been going over include marketing. Obviously, three months is a short time to be in business. It has been great to have positive feedback! Since January: I started the online gallery as a place for customers to make purchases; I created this blog as a way to share behind the scenes stories and other information; I also created a facebook page. Technology is a great marketing tool. However, I am also looking at other ways to market to consumers. Printing business cards to hand out while I am out taking pictures is on my list. I have been looking at entering into some art shows so that I can display my work and talk with people. There have been some photo contests that I have looked at entering.
I have already been approached by a few people about doing some presentations about some of the photos that I have taken. I also submitted a few photos for a local Christmas ornament fundraiser! The results have not been posted for the photo for the Christmas ornament yet, but it was a neat experience to be asked for a submission! All of these are great opportunities! The main thing that I need to do is continue to get out there and continue to improve!