Business Related

Happy 2016!!!!!! Time to get to work!

Petersen Auto Museum

Hopefully all of you have spent sometime reflecting on the last year and have put some thought into what your goals are for 2016.  This is the moment where we start to take that first step and look to the future.   The true secret to accomplishing any goal is to first know where you want to go, and start taking little steps to get there everyday. That is it. Something so simple but yet so hard to do at times.

As we "go for it" in 2016 here some helpful tips that help get all of us where we want to go.

1. Try and do *one thing* related to your goal everyday!  Weather that is watching a tutorial on the subject, working onphoto processing, doing some location scouting, making that cold call to potential clients to find new business,  reaching out to someone you respect for help that guide you, or even spending some time thinking about what to do next.  Do "something" everyday. 

2. Understand achieving your goal is going to be a slow process. Success doesn't come over night. It happens by deliberate steps that add up over time.

3. If you have a bad day or experience struggle, understand that is part of it.  Every goal worth pursuing is going to involve struggle. It's the people that don't understand this that give up and never accomplish their dreams.  Try and accept that it is going to be hard but so worth it.

4.  Take a minute and try and enjoy what your learning or where the journey is taking you.  As you walk down the path you may be surprised by where it takes you so try and enjoy it rather then stressing about getting to where your going.

5.  It is ok to change your mind, adjust your goals, and start again.   As you pursue something you may find out that you actually don't enjoy it as much as you thought, or discover something else along the way that feels better to you.  It is ok to adjust as you go.  The point is that your going somewhere, and that is more important then the destination.

All right lets make 2016 the best year yet!  Let's get to work!!!!

Future Costs of Editing and Displaying Images Online

I have been following a lot of the photography industry news lately. As someone who LOVES photography I can't help but be concerned with what the future holds in terms of the financial requirements needed to be able to continue to enjoy this art form I love. With that in mind I decided to do a break down of all the software and web costs associated with editing and displaying my photography on-line and see what the future might hold cost wise if I maintain all of my current needs and habits. I'll be excluding equipment costs like,  camera, lens, and computer hardware and just focusing on what I need to get my photo's edited and displayed on-line. With this assessment, its important you understand that I'm writing from the point of view of a Semi Professional Photographer. Since my main job is first and foremost being an Animation Artist at Dreamworks, its important to understand that my photography is more of a side business for me. At this current moment my photography generates some income throughout the year but not much. The income I do generate goes directly to covering a lot of the costs I'm about to list.

Like many Semi Professional Photographer its been my goal to at the very least have my photography business cover its costs and this will be a good indicator of how much money I'll need to make over the next year do just that. Lets check out the numbers.


SOFTWARE COSTS:


Lightroom/Photoshop: $29.99-$49.99 a Month (Subscription to Creative Cloud)

Before the monthly payment announcement I actually purchased a license of Lightroom 4.0 and Photoshop CS6 bundled together for $389.90 on a B&H sale they had last August.  Because of that I should be eligible for the introductory $29.99 monthly subscription for one year. After that like everyone else, if I want to keep enjoying adobe products to edit my photo's I'll need to figure out how to add a $50 monthly payment into my budget.  Just to keep this in perspective, that is about how much I pay to have internet for our apartment every month.  This is really scary.

Nik Software: Free/$149.99 one time purchase ($12.50 a month for a year)

I was super lucky. I already owned HDR Efex Pro 2 from Nik before they announced their new pricing so I was able to get the whole suit for free after the new price announcement. This truly has been the biggest gift of all since I am using Nik Software more and more these days. I LOVE NIK.

 

WEB COSTS:


Flickr:  $24.95 a year ($2.07 a month)

Flickr just recently sent waves through the industry when they announced a few days ago that they were going to eliminate the "Pro Accounts" moving forward and give everyone 1 terabyte of free storage for free. I have been a long time Pro user of flickr and have been enjoying Unlimited uploads and ad free web surfing since 2008. With Flickr's new announcement if I want to maintain my "Pro" status I'll have to sign up for a recurring pro account. Without the recurring pro account upgrade current pro users will be downgraded to the free account loosing all of their pro benefits for good with no way of returning. Such a bummer.  So If I want to maintain what I have I'll have to make sure I keep my account current forever paying the yearly fee.

Smugmug: $5-$35 Dollars a Month ($40.00-$300.00 a Year)

  1. Basic: $5/month or $40/year
  2. Power: $8/month or $60/year
  3. Professional: $20/month or $150/year
  4. Business: $35/month or $300/year

I'm currently at the "business" level with the originally cost around $150 a year or (12.50 a month).  With the price increase at Smugmug doubling the business cost from $150 to $300 there is just no way I can afford to pay those prices. To be honest the only thing I use Smugmug for is to push images to my website galleries as well as creating private password galleries for clients.  So moving forward I really only need to pay for the "Power" level to continue to use Smugmug at the same level I need it for.

Wordpress/Web Hosting:

Currently my website is Wordpress based. I love it because its easily updated from any web browser. The cost this year to setup my Wordpress site breaks down like this.

  1. Bluehost web hosting account: 3.95 per month (47.4 a year)
  2. Wordpress Theme: $45.00
  3. Web Developer for advanced adjustments: $150

Total: $20.2 a month ($47.4+$45.0+$150=($242.4)/12)

500px:

I'm currently only using the free account level over at 500px. However if I wanted to invest in that website in the future, here is the price breakdown to go to the "Pro Level" on that website.

  1. Pro Level: $25 per year ($2.08 a month)
  2. Awesome Level: $75 per year ($6.25 a month)

My Total Cost Breakdown Per Month:

$72.08 per month, $864.96 a year

  1. Lightroom/Photoshop: $29.99
  2. NiK Software: 0.00 (Thank you Google)
  3. Flickr: $2.07
  4. Smug Mug: $20.00
  5. Website/Webhosting: 20.02
  6. 500px: Free

$64.01 per month, $768.12 per year!

  1. Lightroom/Photoshop: $49.99
  2. NiK Software:??? ( I don't know what the upgrade cost will be in the future. Will see)
  3. Flickr: $2.07
  4. Smug Mug: $8.00
  5. Website/Webhosting: 3.95
  6. 500px: Free

Conclusion:

So in order to maintain my current life style of editing my photo's in Lightroom and photoshop and uploading them to my favorite websites, (500px, flickr, Smugmug, and Wordpress Site) I will need to come up with $64.00-72.00 dollars a month!  That is a little shocking! I don't know about you but that seems like a lot.

What do you guys think? Can you afford $64.00-72.00 a month just to edit and post your photo's?

Setting up a Photography Print Business in less then One Week!

Today is a big day for Joshua Gunther Photography!

Today I'm going to attempt to sell my first round of gallery float mounted prints during an art exhibit named "Dream Con" on the campus of Dreamworks Feature Animation, where I work.

Every year Dreamworks Feature Animation puts on its own verson of "Comic Con" and encourages its artists to display and sell their work to the 1500 or so employees that reside on campus. Several DW photographers participate and I have wanted to as well for several years now. Unfortunatly the date always snuck up on me and I have never been able to pull a show together in time, but not this year! As soon as Dreamworks announced the date I sprung into action and I was able to setup a complete Photography Print Selling business in Less then a Week! Check out the Details below!

GETTING SOME PRINTS: There were several key things I needed to do to get prepared.  The First was to order some sample prints to put on display so my fellow co workers could get an idea of the quality of the float mounted prints I was offering. My printing company of choice is "Lamiframe". They have the best quality, gallery ready, long lasting, durable, floatmounted prints I have ever seen or found in the US. They are simply amazing! Their customer service is top notch and ordering is super easy. I had several images from our trip to Europe that I was excited to get framed so all I had to do was upload my files to a special online drop box and within a week I had 5, 24x36 float mounted prints ready to hang on the wall! They so ROCK! Everyone needs to check them out!

....Talk to Lizzie, and tell her I sent you and she will take awesome care of you!...

Time: 15 minutes to Order, 7 days to have Products in hand!


RESELLERS PERMIT: The second was, get registered in LA county for a CA reseller's permit. This permit is essential for two reasons. The first is that it allows you to by products from suppliers at whole sale prices and resell them yourself. In my case it allowed me to get a bit of a discount from Lamiframe by them not charging me sales tax on my order since I'm agreeing to charge the customer sales tax when they buy my prints. The second is that it puts the burden on me to charge sales tax to my customers and pay the state quarterly any sales tax I collect. Its a bit more work for me but worth it in the end because it establishes Joshua Gunther Photography as a legitimate legal business in California. This is a huge and exciting step!

Time: 20 Minutes to fill-out the form, 25min drive to the CA Sales Tax Field Office during my lunch break at work, and 30 minutes, same day, to have Permit in hand! 

NOW ACCEPTING CREDIT CARDS!!!: The third and probably most critical step is setting up some way of accepting and tracking payments! You want to get payed right? So the best and most important thing is to make it easy on your customers to pay you for your products or services! After attending a launch event of another friend who just started an amazing t-shirt company (Check it out here) I was amazed to discover that he was accepting credit cards straight from his Iphone using an amazing invention called "Square". I was so impressed by this I decided to look into it myself. Within three days I was able to order and received a credit card reader for my iphone, setup an account, and was ready and setup to accept credit cards! AMAZING! No contracts, or strings attached, just a 2.75% charge on purchases and the money shows up in your bank account the next day! So awesome!

Time: 5 minutes to order, 3 days to receive card reader, 5 minutes to download iphone app, 20 minutes to setup on-line account.

BUSINESS CARDS: The forth is new Business Cards. Believe it or not I had never gotten around to making some business cards. For this awesome project I used an online company that is awesome called "MOO"! The awesome thing about Moo is that they have flickr integration so you can make business cards straight from the images on your flickr account. Within twenty minutes I had my cards designed, ordered and on their way. The cards turned out beautiful and I'm so stoked to have them ready to hand out!

Time: 30 minutes to design and order, 4 days to receive!

MACBOOK PRO GELASKINS: I decided to make one last purchase that I have been thinking about for a while now. I have always wanted to order a decal (Gelaskins) that goes on the back of my macbook pro of one of my photographs. My thinking was, I'm often in coffee shops working on photos so I wanted to have something that displayed some of my work and maybe start up some conversations. Also, during DreamCon I wanted my mac with me at the table to advertise Gelaskins as as a possible print option as well. You never know when someone might ask you about it right? I figured it would be the icing on the cake to just bring the whole business picture together. Will see!

Also much to my surprise out of all the things I ordered Gelaskin was the first to arrive and looks Fantastic!

Time: 10min to design and order, received 3 days later.

So Just to recap!

Total Time Breakdown:

        All Ordering: 2 hours on Sunday morning!
        All Products Arrived:  3-7 days

Complete Photography Print Business Setup in 3 Days, Products ready to sell in a week and a half! So now my question to you is, whats holding you back from doing this yourself?.......Um NOTHING!!!!

NOW GO GET GOING!!!!!!