Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

9 Vintage Camera Ads from 1966

June 27th, 2011 No comments

Here are some camera advertisements that I scanned from the 1966 Photography Annual, published by Popular Photography (click on the thumbnails to enlarge). It's interesting to see that most of the companies in the ads are still around, but a few have disappeared or been bought out. Konica and Minolta merged in 2003, and Sony bought their photography business 2006. Dacora stopped producing cameras around 1972.

It's also interesting to look at the features and marketing strategies of the different manufacturers - it's not that much different from today. Some are aimed at the professional and advanced amateur who want as much control and flexibility as possible, while others are aimed at the more casual user who wants to get great images without getting bogged down with too many accessories and features. Some of the ads were directed at the more technical-mided (Nikon especially), while others emphasized their reputation (Hassleblad, Rollei and Leica), quality and value (Konica and Minolta), and simplicity (Dacora and Konica). The only one that showed a photo taken by their camera was Asahi Pentax, which highlighted the creative possibilities of their camera.

In 1966, 35 mm SLR cameras were becoming very popular, and the introduction of built-in light meters (sometimes called electric eyes) was being heavily promoted in the ads.

  1. Asahi Pentax Spotmatic
    This is the only colour camera ad, although colour photography was becoming increasing popular in the 1960's. The photo in this ad was the grand prize winner of the Asahi Pentax International Photo Contest.  It's a pretty amazing shot using an 18mm fish-eye lens.
  2. Dacora D 202 Rapid
    I hadn't heard of Dacora until I saw this ad. It was a German camera company that  specialized in inexpensive but high quality cameras. This model used Agfa's Rapid 35 mm cartridges, making them easier to load and did not require rewinding after exposure.
  3. Hasselblad 500 C
    Hasselblad is positioning themselves as the "best camera in the world" in this ad. It's hard to argue against that - they are still highly regarded today! I'd love to own one.
  4. Konica Cameras
    Konica advertised 5 different cameras including a the Konica Auto-S2 rangefinder, the Konica FM professional 35 mm SLR and similar FP (without an electric eye), the simple to use Konica EEmatic Deluxe, and the Konica Eye - automatic and lightweight. They also emphasize quality at an economic price.
  5. Leicaflex
    Leica's ad is very simple and just states that this 35 mm SLR camera is a Leica. Leica was the top of the line 35 mm rangefinder camera, but SLRs had been recently introduced, and were becoming very popular with photographers. In response, Leica introduced their SLR, but it didn't do so well, mainly due to its high price and limited range of features and accessories compared to Konica, Minolta, Asahi Pentax, Canon and Nikon.
  6. Minolta SR-1 & SR-7 35 mm SLRs
    The Minolta advertisement emphasizes their technical leadership (the Minolta SR-7 was the first camera with a built-in light meter), high quality and dependability.
  7. Nikkormat FT SLR
    The Nikon Nikkormat FT was positioned as a high quality camera for the 35 mm enthusiast, at a price of  $331.50 ($2277 in 2011 dollars) for the camera and 50 mm f/1.4 lens. Nikon was the only company that published their prices.
  8. Nikon F 35 mm SLR
    This ad is very technical in nature and describes the details of the new Photomic T meter system. The price of the camera with a 50 mm f/1.4 lens was $433, which is quite expensive. Adjusting for inflation, it is equivalent to almost $3,000 in 2011.
  9. Rollei Camera 1966
    The Rollei ad says that it is the best camera for the best results - used by press photographers and prize-winning amateur photographers. It suggests that you will be like the successful photographers if you use a Rollei.  Rollei has an impressive history and was using its reputation to market itself to serious photographers.

The magazine also has some very inspirational photography, but I'll save that for another post!


Taking Risks in Your Photography: Talk by Heather Morton

May 27th, 2011 No comments

On May 26, 2011,  Vancouver CAPIC (The Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators) sponsored a presentation by Heather Morton on taking risks to adapt to the changing and competitive photography market. Heather also included video clips from Selina Maitreya, Heather Elder and Miki Johnson, further expanding on the theme of risk taking.

The presentation was followed by a panel Q&A with Eric Arnold of Dare Vancouver and Nora Ahern of Village and Co., both from advertising agencies in Vancouver.

As an emerging photographer, I was very interested in Heather's talk! After 3 years of study, I recently completed the courses for the Photography Certificate at Langara College, and I'm now working on developing my style and vision. I've been shooting and getting as much experience as possible, developing my portfolio and embracing social media by blogging and using Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Flickr.  Most of the Q&A panel discussion was on the use of social media, which is becoming a key part of photographers' marketing efforts.

The Nine Areas of Risk

1. Be a visionary

Heather started with a quote from photographer Chase Jarvis: "Take the pictures that no one else can take." The first step in successful marketing is to have a unique vision. A couple good examples of visionary photographers are Andrew B. Meyers and Chris Buck. According to Selina Maitreya in a video clip, the photography market is increasingly becoming divided into low-end and high-end markets, with the high-end being defined by photographers with a singular vision.

What does "vision" encompass and how does a photographer develop their vision? Heather's advice is to tell the story of you as a photographer. Vision needs time to develop. Take the risk of following your vision rather than following the latest trends.

2. Always be promoting

E-mail blasts and print promos are hard to get through these days. The volumes are too high for busy creatives to spend time on, and company spam filters stop a lot of e-mail. Printed portfolios are rarely called in anymore.  So what can a photographer do? Some are taking risks with promos that are highly targeted and creative. A great promo will get attention and may result in a tweet, blog post or shout out. Effective use of social media is an important part of the strategy. Promos should reinforce your vision about who you are as a photographer. Heather Elder said in a video clip that blogging and telling the story are very effective promotional tools. Also, face-to-face meetings with potential clients are still highly effective.

Miki Johnson explained via video clip the importance of a blog to give a personal face to your work.

3. Expand your horizons

Diversify yourself beyond your traditional offerings. Travel to new locations and open up to new opportunities such as social media and video. As Heather Elder said, photographers should see themselves as directors, content providers, application designers, and visual image makers. Some photographers are marketing to other photographers, for example David Hobby (Strobist) and David duChemin (Pixelated Image), who teach seminars, sell books and have popular blogs in addition to selling their photography.

4. Experiment & get smarter

Try new things, such as iPhoneography and video. Keep learning. Try different genres of photography. Experiment and practice until you have it down.

5. Get in over your head

Push yourself and don't be afraid to go in new directions. Trust yourself and get out of your comfort zone. It helps if you can share the risk with the client! Selina Maitreya's advice was not to work from fear. Stop chasing trends.

6. Reconsider money

Sometimes you may have a great creative opportunity that is worth doing for awards and recognition, not just the fee. Look at your quotes and see where you can trim excess to help meet the client's budget.

7. D.I.Y.

If the job comes in, say yes and figure it out! Scout locations yourself, test out everything and get your hands on all aspects of the shoot.

8. Collaborate

Pool your resources and expertise with other photographers, videographers, animators and web developers. Collaborate with clients. Take a risk to be open and share your ideas, suggest treatments in your quotes. Overdeliver.

9. Shoot every day

Stay passionate about photography by shooting every day. Interact and engage the world with your camera. Be curious.

Q&A and Panel Discussion

The major theme of the Q&A session was about the increasing importance of social media. It takes a significant amount of time and the results may come slowly, but it is necessary to use the various social media sites as they are channels to promote your work and vision. Here is a summary of the Q&A session.

Related Links

Here's the liveblogged event by CAPIC Vancouver.

Daphne Chan Photography post about the event.

Recap and opinions by Kamil Bialous photography.

The QR Code – Visual Virus or Useful Tool for Photographers?

May 5th, 2011 2 comments


Quick Response (QR) codes are 2 dimensional barcodes that seem to be cropping up everywhere. They have been around for a while (especially in Japan) but are starting to be seen in North America. QR codes contain information that you quickly read by scanning it with a smartphone’s camera - a convenient way to transfer printed data to digital.


Ugly Looking Spammer Tool?

Are they visual viruses, spreading much the way the original barcodes did in the 1980's? Will they become a permanent part of our environment or will they die off? Like viruses, they encode information that helps them spread. They multiply because they offer or point to data in exchange for the space they occupy in our environment.

QR codes could be used for unwanted advertising, spam and computer viruses. Unless these things can be prevented, it will limit acceptance of QR codes. You would only want to scan codes from trusted soruces, or have some kind of spam blocker. But because they are printed, they are less likely to spread anything malicious just because there are cheaper ways of doing that!

Useful technology?

I was wondering how photographers might use them, so I did a little research and found many creative ideas.

  • Add contact information to address books
  • Send e-mails and text messages
  • Link to web pages, photos or videos with useful information or entertainment

Since QR codes are relatively new in North America, they have a novelty value as people are curious and entertained by the technology. It is pretty cool to point your cameraphone at a QR code and see how fast it scans! But after the wow factor wears off, people will abandon it if it doesn't make their lives easier.

QR codes have a techie, futuristic look dominated by function rather than aesthetics. It's interesting that they are meaningful but cannot be understood without a device to read it. They symbolize our increasing dependence of information technology. The QR code on this page means nothing until you scan it. So as a communication tool, it addresses the segment of the population who use smartphones (currently less than 50% of the mobile users, but growing rapidy).

I have seen photos watermarked with QR codes with copyright information or a link to the photographer's accutane buy online website. I don't like the way the QR code competes for attention detracting from the subject in the photo. In galleries, the QR code can be next to the photograph, which works well. It can provide background information or be used artistically with an interactive multimedia application.

Where will this lead us?

Microsoft has a similar technology called The Tag. Tags look nicer with colour, and can be customized to fit with your brand. They link to a database allowing the owner to track the tags and change the associated link. I like the customization idea. You can customize QR codes too, but if you go too far they won't work. Ultimately, data will be embedded in everyday objects (smart objects and augmented reality) and we will no longer go to the trouble of scanning codes, or having them compete visually with the surroundings. Aurasma is an app that recognizes things and links to media without QR codes.

Speed Skater

Smart Objects?

If you find the QR code to be ugly or just does not look right with your imagery, you can hide it - for example on the back of business cards. But that defeats the purpose as they should be clearly visible to encourage scanning. Another option is to make the QR code the centre of attention rather than trying to hide it. I've seen posters and T-shirts that are basically a QR code. Try searching images of "QR code tattoo" - I think most of them are fake but I wouldn't be surprised if people get real ones.

The growing popularity of QR codes is linked to the rise in smartphones and mobile computing. It will continue to grow and is especially significant to advertisers and marketers. Photographers can take advantage of the marketing aspects of QR codes, but they have creative potential for artistic use as well.

Have you used QR codes? Share your experience and let me know what you think.

Here are some more links on QR codes:

Promo material

Using QR codes for more information on photographs at a exhibition

Add copyright information to photography

Who's really scanning all those QR Codes?

33 Ways that Photographers can use QR Codes

QR codes - Gimmick or Here to Stay?

QR Code: A Valuable Tool for Photographers

Photography Market Research using Survey Monkey

February 10th, 2011 No comments

I’m using Survey Monkey to do some research on the local photography market. I created a short survey and I’m looking for responses on or before February 18, 2011. As an added incentive, anyone who completes the survey by the deadline is eligible to receive a 20% discount on a photography session and prints. The session must be booked by March 31, 2011.

If you have a couple of minutes, please take the time to complete it - thanks!

Here's the survey (expires after Feb. 18, 2011):

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

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