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Monthly Wallpaper | March 2010

Spring has finally started to emerge from beneath the deepest freeze of winter. For the month of March, enjoy the shades of green mixing with the ever-deepening blue sky.

Click on the image above to download the 1280×800 version, or download the large image (2650×1600). Taken at the Penn State Arboretum in State College, Pennsylvania.

VTR1000 Lady - Nice blog. I just bookmarked you on my bloglines.

Sent from my Android phone

Monthly Wallpaper | February 2010

My sincerest apologies to any diligently waiting for this. A cold winter’s night stifled with falling snow at a quickening pace reminds me that the pace of 2010 has already begun to quicken though only the second month of the year is now upon us. The invigorating chill of the winter air augurs well for the months ahead.

Click on the image above to download the 1280×800 version, or download the large image (2650×1600). Taken in State College, Pennsylvania.

Sign up for Photos for Haiti

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The official Photos for Haiti website is now live.

Photos for Haiti is way for professional photographers of any style or specialty to donate money to the relief efforts in Haiti through the American Red Cross. Participating photographers make a pledge to donate a portion of their sitting/creative/session fees or print orders to the American Red Cross during the months of January and February, 2010 (or any portion thereof).

Please go and check out the site and consider adding your talents to the pledged donations to help our sisters and brothers in Haiti. Photographers can go straight to the photographer participant page.

The U.N. is calling this the worst disaster they have ever faced. The Haitian people need as much help as the world can offer. Many companies have already begun to organize donations to help, but nothing as an industry-wide effort.

I have seen the strength of resolve that photographers can have as a group for charities, so let’s take the lead and show other industries just how much we are capable of when we join as one for our fellow human beings.

Photos for Haiti

“The losses that have been suffered in Haiti are nothing less than devastating,
and responding to a disaster of this magnitude will require every element of our national capacity.”

—President Barack Obama

By now we all know of the devastation in Haiti and the horrible aftermath of the earthquakes there. In the spirit of President Obama’s call to action, I will be donating half of the commissions from all portrait bookings during the months of January and February to the American Red Cross and their disaster relief efforts. I do this not only to do my part, but also in the hope that other businesses might donate whatever they can to help our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Why People Buy High-End Lemonade

This past Monday, marketing guru Seth Godin posted a tale of two lemonade stands.

In essence, there are two lemonade stands; one your typical two-kid operation selling ordinary lemonade for an ordinary price, $1 a glass. The service is quick, and you get exactly what you pay for. You feel good because you helped two kids with their summer business.

The other stand is run by a single child. Her lemonade is free, but sitting in plain sight is a large tip jar. She has a methodically entrancing selling style; she takes her time making the lemonade and explaining her process to you. It takes a long time for your cup of lemonade, but instinctively you feel that this lemonade is worth more. You leave, feeling not only satisfied, but having had a real connection with another human; a child who might be the best lemonade salesperson you’ve ever met.

Read a little more closely into his post, and you’ll come away with this:

Was there a difference between the actual taste of the lemonade? Probably not.
Was there a difference in the presentation of the lemonade? You bet.
Would you tell others about the stand with the two kids or the stand with the entrancing lemonade girl? I’m betting the latter.

There are a few well known business who have already taken this to heart. For example: even though any sommelier will tell you that the vessel from which you drink wine makes no difference, hundreds of thousands of people will tell you that wine from a Riedel glass tastes better. It does because they believe it does. In their minds, the worth of the wine-drinking experience from a Riedel glass far exceeds the purchase price. They’re paying for the experience.

As photographers, our services are not unique; there are tens of thousands of us. In that way, we’re just like the thousands of lemonade stands that appear every summer. What makes you different from the other lemonade stands? Is your lemonade better? In today’s world, it’s easy to follow directions and make an competent glass of lemonade. Which lemonade stand are you? Why is your lemonade worth more than the other stand down the street that churns it out ten times faster? What story do you tell your customers that will leave them changed forever?

Many thanks to Seth Godin for his continued brilliance and inspiration for this post.

Rich Pizzuti - I read Seth’s blog every day and that particular post got me thinking of how photographers can set themselves apart from the ‘generic’ competition (thePros, studioblue, etc.) We need to be passionate and make our clients feel like we are working together and not ‘for’ them. What we sell is really ourselves and our commitment to creativity. On the other side there will always be people who cannot see the value in the custom product… and that’s ok, because that is not the clientele that we want as photographers.
Thanks for this post!

Phillip Mackenzie - Thanks Rich! I’m glad it got you thinking too…it seems to me that some of the ways we could do it might be so obvious they’re staring us in the face; just like the little girl giving away the lemonade for tips instead of doing the “normal” thing and charging for her product.

Thinking Inside the Box

On the lighter side, today’s quick marketing lesson: great campaigns don’t always think outside the box, like this one from Mini Amsterdam. Sometimes the campaign is the box. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an ingenious and attention-getting use of an empty brown cardboard enclosure.

Share your stories about thinking inside the photographic box in the comments!