Well… That was fun…


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I love shooting eyewear

Eye wear is one of my favorite products to shoot. Since the target audience is so varied it has endless possibilities and you couldn’t possibly get bored or complacent.

As a self admitting photography geek I enjoy the technical challenges of an eye wear project, which are usually a bit more complex than some people may think. I am referring, of course, to shooting eye wear on models, which anyone who shoots people knows as soon as you add the human factor to something, everything gets a little more complicated.

First and foremost there is the product itself. With this one you have the stem, the shape, the color the graphics, the material, etc, etc. Then you have to fit the right pair to the right model’s face, skin tone, hair color etc,etc. Now, what is the location like and where will you be putting them in relationship to your background? This is all well before you get to hit the shutter button, which is why we all got into this business in the first place, right?

Sometimes some of these questions are answered for me, other times not so much. But either way, the burden of success falls squarely on the photographers shoulders. No matter what happens you must come home with the goods!




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Filene’s Downtown Boston

Most people living in the greater Boston area for the past ten or so years will have some memory of Filene’s Department store. Filene’s Basement being even more well know than it’s bigger, and usually cleaner more organized big sister. William Filene began his retail business in 1881 with the Filene’s and sons company. The downtown store was completed in 1912 and in 1929 they sold to Federated Department Stores, who remained the owners until 1988 when they sold to May Department Stores Company. Then in 2005 Federated Department Stores bought May Department Stores and ultimately RE-bought Filene’s. I do know that because the facade holds some historical value to the city whoever owns the property now were unable to tear down the entire structure, ultimately leaving a deserted construction site and a huge gaping hole in downtown Boston.

This is not why we are here though. I had an opportunity to get inside the main floor of the gutted building and make a couple of snappy’s recently. Over all it makes me a bit sad to see it this way but visually it makes a cool location.

Aine standing in the main floor of Filene's

Aine, began working for Filene’s over 22 years ago.

Rusty Antique Handtruck

Rusty Antique Handtruck

Former Filene's Basement

Former Filene’s Basement

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Not a fan of Winter, but…

If you know me at all, you know that I am not a fan of winter. I don’t ski or harbor any great desire to frolic in the snow. Granted it’s not all bad, snow is quite beautiful for the first 24 to 48 hours. After that though it tends to get a bit dingy, at least in the city, which is where I spend most of my time, hunkered down waiting for the big thaw of Spring to arrive. But when the combination of rain and freezing temps create unimaginably beautiful patterns of ice, even I have to agree, this is truly wonderful. Here are a couple of snappys I made this morning on the roof of my porch outside my window.

Rooftop Ice Crystals

Rooftop Ice Crystals

Rooftop Ice Crystals

Rooftop Ice Crystals

Rooftop Ice Crystals

Rooftop Ice Crystals

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New Years Eve

The view of the Boston Public Gardens, The Boston Common and some of the Boston Skyline from the 14h floor of the Taj Hotel, formally the Ritz Carlton, on Arlington Street and Newbury Street, in case anyone wants to visit. It really is the 13th floor, but Hotels can’t have a 13th floor since King Phillip the IV of France arrested most of The Knights Templar on the 13th of October, 1307, which happened to be a Friday. He then proceeded to torture, get confessions of apostasy, idolatry, heresy, obscene rituals, homosexuality, financial corruption and fraud, secrecy and then had them burned to death. Way to go Phil. His ultimate motivation being financial. He was in great debt to the Knights Templar after the war with England. So with a letter from the Pope inquiring about some charges against the Knights from two years prior, he quickly and gruesomely went about eliminating his debt. But I digress. I don’t thing the view would be much different from one floor above or below.

The Boston Public Gardens on New Year's Eve 2012 ©JaxStock

The Boston Public Gardens on New Year’s Eve 2012 ©JaxStock

It was also a great place to view the ‘family’ fireworks a well.

New Years Eve Fireworks 2012 ©JaxStock

New Years Eve Fireworks 2012 ©JaxStock

2013…Which way shall our luck fall? People say the harder you work the luckier you get. Well then…


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BuzzFeed being sued for copyright infrindgement

Don’t for one second think that the owners of BuzzFeed don’t know the law. If someone’s registered, intellectual property is used without permission then that person, or company, has the right to sue for damages. Don’t blame the Intern for not knowing the law, someone at the company they are working for should have explained this to them. No one is born with the knowledge that we don’t stick metal objects into electrical sockets. We are taught this from our elders. If the future generations plan on being in the information business, they need to be taught what the law states and how to obtain proper licenses for image usage. Digital media is only going to continue to grow, with new and clever ways of distributing information. The people who create that information should be compensated for their effort.

For the article and additional comments go here.



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Follow the Leader

Well it is about time that a law enforcement agency has finally figured out we, the citizens of the United States, have basic civil rights. High marks for Washington D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier who has finally made it known to her officers that photography is NOT a crime. I don’t think it is news to those of us in the industry that professional photographers and videographers, as well as ‘Joe Citizen’ with a cell phone camera, have been getting arrested at an alarming rate across the country. Numerous law suits have been filed against the police departments, some ending in large monetary settlements.

So…Well Done to Police Chief Cathy Lanier for her courage in leading this fight to uphold our basic rights.

If you want to read more go here.

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Springs First Iris

Just a couple of images from my garden. Nobody does it better than Mother Nature.

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Here we go again

Here is an additional bit of insight that I hope will help…

Answering an e-mail request for a quote.


Please read the entire e-mail before you dump it into the waste bin.

Advertising is the necessary evil that all companies must endure, there really is no way around it. The only decisions we have to make are what kind and how much can we afford to spend. Decisions that no one undertakes lightly. We have all seen the home made ads on television. The type that use the owners kids, fail miserably regardless of how cute they are and make us feel a bit sorry or sad for the company. Advertising is the only link we have to our target markets. Until we make the first sale our advertising is what will separate us from the competition. I probably don’t need to tell you any of this and even though I produce advertising I very often have to be reminded of it when I am advertising my own business. What will it look like, what will it say and most importantly how much will it cost? Does my advertising say that I am a major player with global market share or a mom and pop shop that will service the local markets? Everything we give our perspective clients creates an opportunity for us to achieve one thing. That thing is perception. Our advertising gives our target market a very specific perception of who we are, what we do and how we do it. Do we have to spend gobs of money to do this? NO! But it’s not free either.

Which brings us to the next segment of our program…

I will be happy to quote on your project but I have a few questions before I can.

1. What is the size of the smallest product and what is the size of the largest?
2. What type of material are they made out of?
3. Can I put them onto a table top to shoot them?
4. What type of background do you want for them?
5. What type of advertising will you be using them for?
6. How large do you expect them to be viewed?
7. Will they be stripped out of the background and do you expect the photographer to deliver them that way?
8. Will the photographer be handling the retouching or just the post production processing?

For every 2 hours we spend shooting there is about 1 additional hour for processing the images for your usage.

50 items divided into an 8 hour day less time for set up, about 1 hour, and break down, about 1/2 hour,  lunch, about 1/2 hour, leaving 6 hours of actual shooting time is about 7.2 minutes per image. Not much time to do the job properly but plenty of opportunities to make a mistake because we are rushing and constantly watching the clock.

I would be happy to meet with you at your warehouse to get a better idea of how best to produce your project. Once I have this information I can give you a detailed estimate for the entire job.



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Something we must do.

So here is an interesting thing. I got a notice to bid for a job from one of those pay per bid companies. (How I wish I had thought of that idea) But I digress… the client needs 23 images of a single product and is willing to pay $75 to $150 for the whole thing. Their generosity has no bounds. Twenty three different shots of the same product. Even if it was a ‘widget’ on white seamless it will still take the better part of a morning to shoot and then the rest of the day to post. But, it’s not a widget. It is a rather large, handcrafted product on location. So now I will need to hire an assistant, pack up my gear, drive to the location, shoot the project, drive home, etc,etc. This is now a 1 day shoot. The following day will be for post production processing and delivering the files, which they have requested be ‘High Resolution Photos’. So now I am into this for about 2 days, the results of which you can read in my response at the bottom of this post.

So what is “something we all must do”? In a word it is ‘educate. Not just ourselves but our clients as well. More importantly our would be clients. Or what I like to call my ‘Could Be Clients’ These are the people who could be clients if they understood the difference in image quality and therefor the value, from a professional photographer. We have spent years upon years, some of us decades, trying to deliver the best possible product to our clients. Not always an easy task. Sometimes their expectations are a little unrealistic. So what else is new? This has been happening in business forever. We all want more for our money and so do they. I remember a friend of mine relaying a story to me about an art director walking into his studio and saying “OK, let’s see some magic”. His response was “your budget doesn’t cover magic”. Brilliant!

Digital technology has made it possible for everyone on this planet to think they can be a ‘professional photographer’. It has saturated the marketplace with watered down versions of ourselves willing to shoot for little to no fee. It has given the client a perverted view of what image quality is and how to achieve it. So that leaves us with decades of experience competing against soccer moms and teenagers and brothers of girlfriends, etc., etc.

So what can we do? We can educate. Plain and simple. Show them the difference your work can make to their business or wedding or family photograph. Whatever it is that you shoot, be better at it than the amateurs and continue to deliver the best possible product you can. If they still can’t tell the difference you can always say what a dear friend once said to a ‘could be client’. “If you can’t tell the difference between their work and mine, you need me more than you know.” Brilliant!! Just so you know, he got the job.

Here is the response to the company from the original paragraph.

I am writing this in the hope it helps you understand a bit more about what we do and what you are asking.

So, Let’s break this down. You have 23 shots but “are not limited to just these shots”. You want to pay up to $150.00 for everything. That will be about 1 day of shooting, if it is not to complicated, and one day of post production processing. Let’s not even talk about usage rights for these images because you probably think you will own them, which is not the case. So, my CODB expenses will be about $120.00, $20 for fuel and $100 for an assistant, which is an insult. Which leaves me a gross profit of $30 for 2 days work. Divide that $30 by either 23 images or 16 hours, which gives me $1.44/image or $1.87/hour respectively. 30% goes to taxes, leaving me about $10/day to pay for all of my fixed costs such as rent, insurance, gear, repairs, software, computer upgrades, etc,etc,etc. Can your business survive on a $10/day gross profit? I didn’t think so.

The craftsmanship in your products is beautiful and you say this is an important project. If that is true then please try understand the real value in what you are purchasing when you hire a professional photographer with the expertise to produce the images you need to sell your products.  If you don’t hire the right photographer to showcase that, then all that work is lost. I hope this has helped you understand the difference between hiring a professional in oppose to hiring someone who happens to own a digital camera.


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