Wednesday, May 31, 2006

On being published

It's a funny thing - back in the day to get published there was this whole process of sending people stuff and they'd send you rejection notices (mostly) and it was a big deal if it worked out.

Today there seems to be an awful lot of some editor somewhere realizing they need a picture of X fast and they'll poke around the web and find something that works and they'll contact the photographer and ask if it's OK if they use it. This happens all the time on my personal website (just travel snapshots and so forth, mostly intended for friends and family). Depending on the use I'll either just let them use it (church bulletin) or I'll give them a quote (book cover, travel brochure). In any case I'll usually ask for a copy of whatever it is for my files. So I have a stack of random newspaper articles, books, even a student yearbook where they used a photo of mine for something.

It's not a big deal but it's kind of fun and sometimes there's a little money involved, what's not to like?

Well, the reason I bring this up is that today I received a copy of a Japenese newspaper - it's the US edition and they had some kind of "things to do" blurb (I think) and they used one of my
photos for something up in Seattle. They'd kindly put a post-it note on the right page so I could find it, but it's very, very strange to see this sea of Japanese, a photo I took and "Photo by San Francisco Nudes" under it - pretty much the only thing I could read in the whole paper!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Store News

Just to let people know, I've added lots and lots of items to the eBay Store. It's interesting - sales direct off of this website are larger than the eBay sales these days which has some effects you might not think of. As an example, my lab has a minimum order size - it works out to six 8x10s. So if you order four (thanks!) I have to order two other pictures to round out the order. What happens to these extra two pictures? That's where my eBay inventory comes from. I also generally buy an orders worth whenever I do a new shoot but increasingly I'm just maintaining a "things to buy" folder and as orders come in I use that folder as filler.

I'd avoid the whole thing if I switched to doing the printing myself, but it's only worth doing if you use the very best printers, archival paper, archival pigment based inks, etc. If you're actually doing it right it's very expensive. Sad to say many people out there aren't doing it right, even if they claim they are (either due to ignorance or a lack of ethics).

On a related matter, I either have or have ordered everything I need to make cyanotypes. Cyanotypes are an old process (1842?) that produces an image in shades of blue. Historically it's had several kinds of uses (blueprints to botantical records) and these prints from 150 years ago still look great. None of this "well, the manufacturer promises..." stuff, they've actually survived that long. I have two in my office and love them.

It sounds like the kind of thing where it's easy to get something that more or less looks OK and can take a lifetime to master. I'm not sure how long it will take to get something I'm willing to sign, but once I do I'll put up some limited editions for sale. It's fairly time consuming so they won't be cheap and I imagine there won't ever be a lot of them.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On Clusters

One thing I like about 8x10s, especially 8x10s at a reasonable price, is that they cluster well. That is to say, you buy a little group of them and hang them together. The exact layout will depend on what kind of space you want to fill, but at the most basic level if you buy four and put them in a 2x2 grid they look pretty cool. Part of why this is practical is that you can get away with really minimal framing - usually it works best if everything is very clean or simple. So if 8x10s are $25 each, and you just get some basic $5 frames (just a black rim) even allowing for some shipping you'll have something cool for $125 which frankly doesn't even cover framing at the place I usually use.

Usually if you do this you want them to be clearly related. I've had people buy 4-6 pictures and mention they're hanging them together and if they do it right you can see what they had in mind - they'll all be of the same model, or different models but similar poses, or different models but similar lighting. Sometimes people will do this with different photogaphers as well but it can be a little harder to get it to work. I've had people comment that they're happy to finally fill in that last corner!

There's nothing wrong with just buying a 16x20 and being done with it, of course, it just depends on what kind of effect you're trying to achieve.

Anyway, something to think about. If you do it right the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts and it won't break the bank.

Friday, May 19, 2006

16x20 of Belia

I've listed a 16x20 of Belia on eBay. This shot got a lot of traffic as an 8x10 so we'll see how it does as a "featured item" 16x20. Right now it's bid all the way up to a penny, such a deal!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New Model: Sunny

I just uploaded the set with the lovely Sunny - I'm all caught up in my editing, yay! Tons of other stuff to do, but it will be easier without dealing with new shoots for a little while.

More little updates

I received a big shipment of prints today which included a bunch of prints on metallic paper. I'm not going to list them at auction - I just put them into my store at eBay. The metallic paper is a bit of a hard sale because it costs more and if you haven't seen it you won't know why it's cool. But if you want to check it out, the pictures of Calico or Elanora are especially cool - the red/oranges just pop, it's great.

I also want to point out I've had a link over on the right called Hot eBay Items for a while now. It's from a company that does auction tracking. Some of the information is a little dubious (the number of watchers is always way off what eBay says) but it's interesting to see what people click on and what they don't. Note that it only tracks auction items, not store items. Also note that the "mature items" show up which is useful because a) eBay's interface to getting to them is flaky, and b) they don't show up at all in store views. They usually don't get that much traffic but sometimes I'll list an explicit shot or two there just to see what happens. I listed a few because of the 10 cent listing day.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Small Updates

I've refilled the eBay store which turned out to be good timing - today's a "10 cent listing day" basically a sale to list items. They do it when their earnings are a bit flat and need perking up (they still charge the same fees for whatever sells which can be the real killer). It's a good thing in terms of the store having more inventory because auctions tend to drive traffic to stores, which don't show up in normal search results.

On the minus side, everybody's going to use today to unload whatever cheap junk they couldn't unload at the usual prices so you can get lost in the shuffle, too.

So if you're looking for a deal, or if you aren't a regular and are just more comfortable the first time buying within eBay instead of direct... you win either way.

Selling on eBay really has its pros and cons. It's a great way to meet new customers you otherwise couldn't reach, and since I have a lot of repeat customers who just order direct after the first time (it's not like I'm hard to find online once you know I exist) the fees don't bother me too much. But for a lot of people - mostly people who don't use it - it just seems too tacky for words. Which is silly, because you can get multi thousand dollar Ansel Adams prints there and I know a bunch of really excellent photographers who sell there at least occasionally. Don't get me wrong, there are people selling junk there too, but you can find cool stuff if you poke around a bit. I've purchased art there myself (including some very cool cyanotypes).

In other news, I should have a set up pretty soon (that's photographer talk for within the next week, but it could be this evening, who knows) and then that's it until early June. I'll still be manning the store, I just won't be doing any new shoots unless something too good to pass up should come along. (In other words, if you're a model who's on vacation in San Francisco in late May, write to me anyway, maybe I can squeeze you in somehow).

Monday, May 08, 2006

Model advice

If you're going to do an outdoor shoot with a photographer, and he's driving to the location, and you bring a friend unannounced at the last moment... at least make sure he doesn't drive a 2 seater first.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

New Model: Belia

Very new model, in fact, she turned 18 two days before the shoot. (It just worked out to be a convenient time) She's lovely, she's talented, she's Belia.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

New Model: Lisa

Well, Lisa showed up the other day with some cute outfits and some unusual props and asked me to shoot her in them as part of the set. I usually don't like shooting with clothing - the clothed shoots you see on my website were usually favors for friends - but the one exception is I like shooting pinups now and again so what the heck. So it's kind of a mixed set with some stuff in my usual lighting, plus the pinup stuff, plus I've been experimenting with the dramatic lighting on the floor you see midway through the set. It's a bit quirky but most people who follow my work realize quickly that although much of my work is quite traditional/classic I'm not afraid to get quirky.

The shoes, well, I think they're super fantastic.

Update: There's a 16x20 of Calico on eBay that ends tomorrow and is going for shockingly little. Normally I wouldn't be too concerned because most of the bidding happens in the last day... but this item hasn't even received that much traffic. It's a cool picture but the thumbnail doesn't look like much and people just aren't clicking on it. Anyway, if you want a deal on a big print, now's your chance!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Small Updates

I'm on "T" for "Tawny" right now on the eBay "Model A-Z". It's been kind of fun and on the way I discovered some holes in my inventory (so if I skipped anybody, that's why, I sold all their pictures already and didn't order new ones, oops).

I am scheduling maternity shoots at a surprising rate. Considering that this page is all I've done to promote it that's pretty cool. You can tell there's a market for some different approaches to maternity photography but I'm not sure if I'll keep it as a sideline or really try to promote it.

I shot a wedding... sort of... I was asked to step in and help a friend out and just take a few basic combinations (bridal party, family, bride and groom) since their photographer was suddenly ill or somesuch. It wasn't that much trouble and it's always nice to help people but I can see why people hate shooting weddings. You only have one chance to get it right, and there's a lot of herding people around. I'm glad I had the experience in kind of a watered-down form and have no urge to do the full thing!

I'm just about done editing a very cool set where we went on a bit of a pinup tangent. Hey, it's fun.

I have three more model shoots (in addition to some portrait work) scheduled before I stop shooting for the rest of the month but of course I never believe the shoot's really going to happen until it's over. So basically over the course of May there will be anywhere from one to four new shoots posted.

The new book, Simplicity, has arrived at various customers and they have all said nice things. That's always a bit of a relief!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Simplicity on Amazon

Well, sort of. It turns out that it's been listed for a while in kind of a "stub" form. Amazon uses 10 digit ISBN numbers and I thought I knew how to convert from the modern 13 digit number to 10 but apparently not. Anyway, I finally found it and it's there but not everything's filled in including the author. I'm trying to get all that fixed but it is possible to order it if you would rather use Amazon instead of buying direct.

(Note on Amazon it's a marketplace item so you have to click "see all buying options" and buy it from Lulu).

Heck, for that matter you can buy it from Lulu directly as well.
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