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Posts Tagged ‘make prints’

Meet Jim Giunta: Head of Technical Support

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

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According to Dictionary.com a Renaissance Man is “a present-day man who has acquired profound knowledge or proficiency in more than one field.”

That completely defines our own Jim Giunta, Head of Pounds Technical Support. He’s been there and done that. Whether it’s skydiving, scuba diving, flying single-engine planes, shooting competitively, or working on his Harley, he’s all action, all the time. He’s also been a professional magician, which may explain how he makes so much happen here at Pounds!

Jim’s background includes a wide skill set. He worked in photography, missile electronics, and computers during time spent in the military. Then he expanded his knowledge base into video and broadcast journalism. When he was on the East Coast, he was in on the cutting-edge development of green screen technology and capture software.

He’s really done it all.

POUNDS: Tell us a little bit about your background.

JIM: I grew up in Rochester, New York, with seven siblings, one of which is my identical twin. Two of my brothers are magicians. My oldest brother was an electrician, a photographer, and a magician. I got interested in magic and photography through him. That’s how I put myself through college the first time, working as a photographer for schools during the week, weddings on the weekends, and supplementing that with magician gigs.

POUNDS: How long have you been in the photography business?

JIM: I’ve been in the business since 1972 when I was a military photographer. My first hitch was in Frankfurt. I was sent all over Europe because I had a security clearance. The majority of the work I did was classified. When I got out of the service, in Rochester, I worked in still and video, went back to school, and got another degree in broadcast journalism. Then I went back to the military and worked in electronics and computers specifically on the Pershing II ballistic missile.

POUNDS: How did your military career help you in your present job?

JIM: When I got out in ‘90, I had both camera and computer backgrounds. Everything was turning to digital, so it was perfect timing.

POUNDS: How did Pounds find you?

JIM: When I got to my first lab job at PCA, a guy working for them was trying to develop a department for specialty school and events and using green screen on-site. He hired me for the digital division. I stayed, he left. When they got bought out, he was involved in Pounds with a franchise operation and told them about me. He recommended me, and I got hired ‘07.

POUNDS: Tell us a bit about what you do for customers.

JIM: Support for volume photographers is more of a one-on-one service. They have a personal relationship with our people. We’re on call 24/7. We provide a more specialized and customized workflow for their specific business. We find out what type of business model they have, and assess skills, equipment, and resources. If necessary, we suggest equipment, marketing, or business support. We support them when they are up and running or if they are just beginning their volume careers. I also provide the support for customers that want websites and teach them how to use and maintain them.

POUNDS: What’s new and coming up?

JIM: We are expanding the customer support team, and we’re doing a lot of technical development this year. We will be enhancing our customer order submission softwares to give studios more control of the process. We’ll have the full capability of the PhotoLynx suite of software, and the website is offering direct fulfillment now.

POUNDS: What do customers tell you about their experience with Pounds?

JIM: The two points that come up time and time again are the quality of the product and the level of our support because it is one-on-one.

Meet Carolyn Taylor: Supervisor School Division + Order Entry

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

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Once Pounds hired Carolyn Taylor, we just would not let her go. When we bought another lab, a lot of us will tell you it was so we could hang on to her! She has done almost every job at Pounds and now holds the title Supervisor School Division / Order Entry. She also oversees the retouching department and Xerox printing. In other words, she’s still doing it all. It’s primarily due to Carolyn that the Pounds ship sails so smoothly every day!

POUNDS: How did you get started in the industry?

CAROLYN: I started working in the photography industry at Gittings Studios in the early to mid-80s. I was in the production department, and my responsibilities included filing negatives, wedding album and frame assembly, and portrait packaging. This was an awesome experience. The portraits assembled and packaged for presentation to clients were simple, a work of art! In 1987 the company was acquired by Paul Skipworth and became Gittings-Skipworth. I continued working a few years, then decided to apply for employment at Pounds as this was the lab that produced the work for Gittings and Gittings-Skipworth.

POUNDS: It sounds like you were destined to be with Pounds!

CAROLYN: I started working for Pounds in February of 1991. I was hired to work in the proofing department but was quickly moved to “cut neg” to operate the v7 and vp2 film printers. Printing on the v7 was my main job, but I filled in on the vp2 as needed. Back in those days, we kept a daily count of how many exposures the printer made. I hit the all-time high count on the v7. I don’t remember the count or the date that was, but it was a big deal then! In January of 1996, I was hired to work at Meisel.

That didn’t last long because Pounds acquired Meisel seven months later and I have worked here ever since, in almost every department except mounting and shipping. I was in on the ground floor when the transition from negatives to digital took place. My first thought was that we (Pounds) had lost our minds but look at us now!

POUNDS: Tell us a little bit about your family.

CAROLYN: I am a married mother of two children, a boy, and a girl and now grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, two boys, and two girls. My oldest grandson lives with us and has brought much love and joy to our home. Our household has a huge heart for animals. We currently have two dogs and a cat, but we’ve had as many as five dogs at one time! My grandson enjoys school, school activities, and sports. If I leave work at a reasonable hour, it’s because I’m attending a basketball or football game! But don’t worry! I will always show up early the next day if necessary, to catch up on any of our customer’s work that may require my attention.

POUNDS: What’s new at Pounds?

CAROLYN: Our school division has grown by leaps and bounds since it first started. Today we have more than tripled our number of school customers and provide services to many studios across the United States. As always, we are looking to grow even more in this area. This year we have put into place new work-flows and processes to make the school experience here at Pounds more efficient, sustainable and pleasant for our customers.

POUNDS: What do you enjoy most about working with Pounds?

CAROLYN: I have always enjoyed the challenge of working at Pounds. Things are ever-changing, so there is no time to be bored. We are continuously improving and adding new processes and products to accommodate our customers’ needs. Each day is a new and different experience. There is always something to learn. If it can’t currently be done, our challenge is to figure out how it can be done and do it. We have moved many mountains over the years.

We are up to the challenge, so bring it on!

Future Outlook: Volume School Photography at Pounds

Monday, May 7th, 2018

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What can volume photographers look forward to at Pounds? How can we help your business grow? What products are going to increase your profit margins, and what is new and exciting? How is the merger with Nations and the acquisition of MVP going to benefit photographers?

Let’s talk to the experts, Jon Weinstock, Executive Vice President of Nations Photo Lab, Chris Oelker, Pounds General Manager, and Matthew Scoggins, who we refer to as Future State Champion because he’s one of our most valuable players!

POUNDS: Tell us how the merger is benefitting photographers?

Chris: Pooling the experience and resources from the three organizations is allowing us to further develop and implement new ordering options that will better support volume photographers and provide them with solutions that meet the changing needs of their studio workflows and their customers.

JON: The merger with Nations and the acquisition of MVP means we have a lot more resources to help photographers grow their business or pick a new direction. If they want a new stream of income, for instance, we have experts that can guide them into school and sports photography. We encourage photographers to look into different streams and options for their business. Don’t just stay in your niche. Branch out, approach dance studios and martial arts studios!

POUNDS: Jon, what’s new that you find exciting?

JON: I’m excited about implementing PhotoLynx FLOW and offering all the tools that are available. Our customers are going to save time, be more efficient in the field, and during post-production.

POUNDS: Can you tell us a little more about PhotoLynx?

CHRIS: PhotoLynx services the volume school photography industry. They have stepped it up a notch with FLOW and provided an all-around solution for photographers to create and submit orders. Pounds can serve the photographers who have 400 schools, but also those that have 10-50 schools. That is where FLOW fits in. It’s a great service for the medium and smaller volume school photographer.

MATT: We are in the process of implementing FLOW by PhotoLynx. That program is the industry standard, and one of the most popular volume photography tools. It gives a photographer the tools they need to successfully photograph a school day, match the images to data, then turn-around and produce the exports that are needed for the school, and get the images online for the school. It’s the gold standard in the industry.

POUNDS: What is important for photographers coming into the volume photography market to understand about choosing the right lab?

CHRIS: The school market is really different from most markets. Volume photographers are tied into a lab for a school year, and their workflow is dependent on the workflow of the lab. It can throw a studio’s workflow off if a lab is not consistent. We pride ourselves on consistency.

POUNDS: What has changed in the way customers get their product?

CHRIS: Traditionally we offered a CD or DVD of the student’s images. Now computers don’t have CD drives in them. We started doing digital delivery a few years ago. Now companies like CaptureLife are taking it a step further. They are building an ordering platform and allowing for many more opportunities for the studios to increase profits. A text or email is sent with a link to the student’s image.

POUNDS: Tell us a little more about CaptureLife

MATT: So much is being driven by this digital delivery platform. CaptureLife is an app you download on Android and IOS. When the digital download fires off, you can follow the link. The goal is to keep that client within our ecosystem. They can click on it instantly, and order more prints. It’s about instant gratification. It’s important, and that process is going to be rewarded by more purchases.

POUNDS: What are some other services gaining momentum?

CHRIS: We are taking advantage of the increasing number of third-party vendors offering niche services for school photographers. MorePhotos, for instance, is offering image hosting and they offer a website service. They will build you a site with consumer ordering capability, so the studio’s customers can place an order. It will allow for distribution to additional family members.

POUNDS: What about new designs coming out?

CHRIS: We are always adding new, on trend designs for our volume customers. We recently expanded our picture day essentials offerings. We have created some themes that carry through on your envelopes, posters, flyers, and stickers so you have all the printed material you need for ordering and marketing on picture day!

POUNDS: What’s going on with Green Screen?

CHRIS: We are continuing to build out our green screen support and add different designs and products. We add new green screen backgrounds each season and have options for specialty designer prints.

POUNDS: What about new product development?

MATT: There is a company doing 3-D prints, that is in the early stages. It’s a neat product. Custom hashtags are being used. At a school dance, all the kids text that they are in a group of images. Now the photographer can trace it back to them.

POUNDS: So, what’s the bottom line for photographers?

MATT: The goal is to streamline the workload for photographers and to help them create additional revenue!

Print What You Want to Preserve

Monday, September 15th, 2014

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Guest blog by Missy MWAC
#whyweprint

[The discussion recently arose on my Facebook wall about giving clients digital files because that’s “what they want,” and I’m glad it did, because it’s an important discussion to have. This is my response to the “digital only” conversation. Warning: I took it waaaay down. So far down, that I became exhausted and had to watch SNL reruns on Netflix to counter the effects…]

I may be out of touch, it’s true. And while I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, I really do try to stay on top of what is trending and what is about to trend. It’s kind of my thing.

As you recall, back in the days o’ film, the phone would ring and the caller would ask that question that made many a photographers’ eyes roll: “How much is an 8×10?” If I had a dime for every time, right? And, we knew…just knew… that what they were asking was not really the price of an 8×10 (although I’m sure there was a percentage for whom that was ALL they wanted to know.)

No, they asked “How much is an 8×10?” because it’s all they knew to ask. They wanted to know price, sure, but what that question really meant was:

“Why should I pick YOU?”
“Am I going to love these?” “What if I don’t?”
“Are you right for me?”
“If I pick you, will I be happy with my choice.”
“Tell me why YOU are the right photographer for me.”

Of course, they didn’t come out and say that. Instead, they asked, “How much is an 8×10?”

Now, that question could be answered according to the “what clients want” theory: they WANT the price of an 8×10, so give it to them and be done with the phone call.

Or…we could dig deeper to find out what they REALLY want.

Fast forward to now and the digital age. I happen to love it. I really do. Digital photography has made possible things that have stretched the imagination and broadened the mind. Heck, you and I are talking because of digital communication. And, for many photographers, digital technology has changed their final product.

Why? Why did it change? Were clients banging down the door demanding digital images only…or were we quick to hand them over, stick a fork in it, and say, “I’m done.”

Personally, I think it’s the latter.

Again, why? Well, with digital only, we don’t have to sell. And selling, well, the thought produces tremors in a lot of people. And then, having sold, we have to produce a product. And then, we have to hope the clients like the product. And then, we have to deliver the product.

All that…when you could slap ‘em on a CD, grab a little pocket change and be done? Well, it’s easy to see, at least to me, why that became attractive and “the thing to do.” (Not to mention this was advocated and promoted by those who stood to profit from the shift to digital only. Of course, that’s a whole other conversation.)

But…I submit it is not always what clients want…even when they say it is. Like the 8×10, they think they need to ask: “Can I get the CD?” That’s what their friends did, right? And that’s the offer they are getting everywhere they turn, so they figure it’s “what’s done.” And, having received the CD, or USB drive, or online gallery, the images will be shared for a week or so, and then, the excitement will wane and the disk will be placed in a drawer.

And it will be forgotten.

Sure, a handful might, just might, print them. Will they look how YOU intended them? After all, your name is on them, so you better hope so. I say the odds are doubtful.

The bottom line, at least, to me, is that we have devalued many things in this industry: the work, the final product, the relationships between client and photographer, the way we market…(examples are happily given for all of these upon request) and it’s time we get back to making things MEAN something again.

I believe we do that by creating a print for our client…something that lasts. I might give a social media copy to share online, but I believe my job isn’t done until I place a paper photograph in their hand, because I believe that the ONLY tangible thing we give our clients shouldn’t be a USB drive.

And, I believe their grandkids will one day be grateful.

xoxo

PRINT in the Name of Science

Friday, June 6th, 2014

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I’m not a scientist. Not even close.

The closest I’ve come to being a scientist is creating baking soda volcanos with my children or helping them with science fair projects. Unless, of course, you count experimenting with cocktails in the kitchen as science: “Let’s see…a little of this…and a little of that…” in which case, just call me Mr. Wizard.

But I read an article recently on a Science News site about a study conducted by a Psychologist at Fairfield University. Her findings were published in a paper entitled “Point and Shoot Memories.” In a nutshell, she wanted to determine if people who took a lot of photographs had better memories, or worse. Unfortunately, it was the latter. She determined that the brain’s ability to recollect objects was increased when those objects were viewed outside of a viewfinder.

“When people rely on technology to remember for them — counting on the camera to record the event and thus not needing to attend to it fully themselves — it can have a negative impact on how well they remember their experiences.”

I totally get this. As any parent who has photographed a dance recital knows, you can’t enjoy it AND photograph it at the same time.

But here’s where the story gets interesting. You’ll want to really pay attention to this next part. You with me? Good.

The article goes on to quote the psychologist:

“Research has suggested that the sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them,” she said. “In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them.”

WAIT, let’s read that again.

“Research has suggested that the sheer volume and lack of organization of digital photos for personal memories discourages many people from accessing and reminiscing about them,” she said. “In order to remember, we have to access and interact with the photos, rather than just amass them.”

You mean, it’s not enough to just to TAKE the picture? You have to actually interact with the photos? Hmmm…and how best would we do that?

Oh, I know!

PRINT THEM.

I mean, why do we take pictures to begin with? To remember. A moment in time means something to us, so we whip out a camera and record it so we can remember it later. But as technology progresses, billions and billions and billions of memories are now in danger of being forgotten. It’s like when you go to the zoo and see a sign in a cage for an animal on the Endangered Species list. In our local zoo, the sign reads, “Going…going…gone.”

I wish I could put that sign on every digital file in the world.

As photographers, we are in the business of preserving memories. Even as I write this, I realize how cheesy that line sounds, but, it’s true. Our goal as portrait photographers is not to make a quick buck; it’s to give our clients value in a product they will have for a lifetime. Which is pretty cool when you really think about it.

Will a pixel last for a lifetime? I just don’t know. (I do know that I have a whole mess of cassette tapes I’ll never listen to again. And don’t even get me started on my VHS library.) I DO know, however, that when I sell my clients prints, I am providing them with a tangible piece of art that they will hand down to future generations.

So, if you want to remember a time, or a place or a person you love, there’s really only one thing to do….

PRINT what you want to preserve.