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The Professional Photographer's Newsletterhttp://www.poundslabs.com/
Customer Survey
We want to thank everyone who participated in our Customer Satisfaction Survey and Digital Education Survey this past month.  We were able to reach about 75% of you. Your input is vital in helping us understand your needs so that we may provide you with the products and services that will continue to add value to your business. Your comments and suggestions will be used to help guide our efforts in 2006 and beyond.

The Future of Film at Pounds 
Over the last 12 to 24 months we have seen a huge change in our business as the majority of our work has shifted from film based to digitally based. In 2006 we may find that it is no longer practical to print optically. This does not mean that we will not be able support those of you who do not want to leave your film cameras behind. We will continue to process film and service the optical photographer for years to come with a film to digital workflow.

In the November 30 statement you will be receiving soon, you will find an insert explaining what we are experiencing with optical production and what immediate changes are in store. (Click here if you would like to see a copy of that announcement.) In the month of December we will be contacting a selection of customers who account for most of our optical production to talk with you about your plans and how we can continue to support you whether you chose to stay with film or move towards digital. If you would like to make sure your voice is heard we have posted a questionnaire on our website. Keep an eye out for more information about this issue in future newsletters and on our website.

Pounds Remote Ordering System
PROS [click here]Whether you are photographing a School, Sports, Wedding, Portrait, or any other type of photographic event, PROS has the product selections, presentation features, and ordering services you can depend on to make life easier and more efficient.  If you are not yet using PROS, click on the link to the left to see why this ordering solution is one of the most talked about, easy to use ordering solutions out there today!  Once you download PROS, remember to click on the "My Information" button and fill out your name, account number, complete e-mail address, and state so that we know who the order is coming from and where to send the e-mail confirmation.

Did you know you can access a printable version of the 2005 Price Guide from the Tip of the Day window in PROS?  You can also access the Pounds web site by clicking on PROS logo at the top of the ordering screen.  Another important feature to remember are you preferences.  If you would like to turn off the prices inside PROS, click on the "Preferences" button and uncheck "Show Prices".  Once you have done that you will need to relaunch PROS.  When it opens back up it will not show any pricing information, allowing you to use the software as a presentation tool with your clients!

PROS Proof Ordering
PROS has three proof ordering catalogs to choose from:  Standard and Studio Logo Proofs, Specialty Border Proofs, and Sloppy Border Proofs. The Specialty and Sloppy Border proofs are relatively new and have been a very popular addition.   The borders have been especially popular with our senior photographers and seem to be adding an extra enhancement to their total package which has in turn, increased their sales.  [more...]

To qualify for proof pricing, an order must contain at least 10 images and the same print sizes and quantities must be ordered from each image.  Proof orders with less than 10 images will not be accepted by our system. An automatic email is sent informing you of the problem and that you will then need to submit a new order that meets the minimum requirements or use our Digital Printing services catalog. 

If however, your order has 10 or more images but the items and quantities ordered are not the same for all of the images, an e-mail will be sent to you listing the discrepancies. In this case it is not necessary to send us a new order if you meant to order the same print sizes and quantities. Simply respond to the message telling us what print size(s) and quantities you wanted. If you meant to order different prints and/or quantities then you will need to create a new order in PROS using one of the catalogs other than proofs.  If you are going to submit a new order, please reply to our message letting us know so that we can remove the order from our system. 

PROS 5x30 Enhancements
Another product becoming increasingly popular in a variety of portfolios are the 5x30 prints.  We are seeing an increase in popularity in sports, babies, seniors and even wedding photography packages.  Once again we have added new layout selections to our 5x30 stretch print catalog. Plus, you now have the option of adding a background image and opacity "fade" options.  The opacity fade now appears on the PROS screen for a visual confirmation, the same functionality is also available in PROS Composite prints. 

PROS Sports and Events 
Digital Pic-A-Pac ordering through PROS offers lower pricing, more products and faster turnaround!  A Pic-A-Pac order must be of similar subjects with consistent lighting and background.  Orders that do not fit these criteria should be submitted as Package Prints.

PROS and Pic-A-Pac Sports Calendars
In response to the needs of our customers we are continually upgrading and changing our graphic products to add value to your business.  We have made modifications to Sports Calendars 3101 through 3108.  [more...]

PROS Greeting Cards
Greeting Card ordering through PROS has been phenomenal!  This year brought you a greater selection and more options. . . including Custom Blank Templates for do it yourself designs and Gift Tags.  Remember when placing your order for envelopes to specify the quantity needed.   PROS Greeting Card orders from digital files have a two day turnaround time.

Overlay Placement in PROS
PROS is a great way to add either a studio overlay or text overlay to your prints. Please be sure to select either the vertical or horizontal options so that our automated software will know which way the image is oriented in the print. Orienting the image such that the heads are on either the Horizontal Top or Vertical Top sides is also critical. We try to catch it when we see an overlay in the wrong position but cannot be sure we will always do so and even if we do we must throw away prints when that happens.

Turnaround Time and Order Changes
Over the last half of 2005 we have focused on decreasing the time between when we receive an order and when it is finished. Our average time in lab has dropped by one to two days and we expect that average to drop more in 2006.  Especially with electronic submission (PROS, Labprints, ProShots, etc), it is very important that you carefully review your order before you submit it. The typical electronically submitted order is into production within minutes... and may have already printed by the time you contact us to change it.  Once an order is in production there is a $3.00 charge to pull or change the order.  When calling about a specific order or any type of work order issue, you need to contact Dallas Customer Service or send an e-mail to orderprocessing@poundslabs.com.  Our customer service representatives are ready, willing and able to help you as quickly as possible.  If you have questions concerning or need assistance with PROS, LabPrints, PoundsFTP, ProShots, Collages.net, etc., please e-mail digitalhelp@poundslabs.com.

eProof Options
Shooting Film?  You can still take advantage of our complete array of digital products and get lower pricing to boot.  Take advantage of the new eProof options - 5MB - 20MB - 40MB scans from film.  Your images are returned on a disk which you can then use with one of our digital ordering systems. Check the pricing on page two of our 2005 Price Guide, listed under Format Proofs from Presentation Scans.

Forget Your Password?
Has it been a while since you've logged into our Customer Home site (gasp) and you simply can't remember your password?  On the home page of our web site under Current Customer you will find a link to our Password Recovery Tool page. Upon submission, an e-mail containing your password will be sent to the e-mail address we have on-file for your account.

Have you changed your e-mail address and would like to update our records with your new address?  You may also do that from the home page of our web site!  We are excited about the improvements to our web site and your feedback is most important.  We are already hard at work executing improvements that were suggested by our customers and industry friends.  Please drop us a line with any comments or suggestions - anytime!

Digital Education
Seminar registration has begun at www.poundslabs.com/seminars.  You may now register online or print out and mail in your registration form with your payment!  Also, check the Pounds Calendar of Events online for a complete list of events Pounds will be offering or attending this year!  This year Pounds will be emphasizing "The Essential Elements" of Digital Workflow.  Please join us! 

ShootSmarter University
This four day hands-on " Digital Wedding Essentials" class will be held at ShootSmarter University on January 20th through February 2nd in Aurora, Illinois.  This program, hosted by Pounds Labs, will be given by speaker Jim Tweedie, from ShootSmarter.com - one of the most successful photographers and top columnists on the internet.  Mike Oakley, Pounds' Technical Coordinator and Digital Knowledge Expert, will be participating during the four days and bringing back - well - Jim Tweedie!  Jim will be presenting three all day seminars for Pounds this year.  Jim's "Professional Digital Wedding and Portrait" seminars will be held on February 20th in Grapevine, Texas at the Grapevine Convention Center; February 27th in Kingwood, Texas at the Kingwood Heritage Center; and May 1st in Shreveport Louisiana.  For more information, or to register for any or all of these seminars click here.

The Essential Elements
The "A to Z" Essentials for a Profitable Digital Business will be held on February 13th in Austin, Texas at the LBJ Wildflower Center from 8:30AM until 5:00PM.  This day's agenda has an incredible line-up of speakers that will take you from camera, capture, PhotoShop, order submission and software solutions - to posing, lighting, projection and marketing.  This is one you do not want to miss!  [more...]

Pounds 2006 Workshop Schedule will be posted later this month, along with the Dallas Digital Exchange Center classes. 

Monaco Optix XR
Pounds is pleased to announce the addition of the Monaco Optix XR monitor calibrator by X-Rite to our merchandise catalog.  Experts agree that an accurately calibrated monitor is an essential component in a properly managed digital imaging workflow.  The Monaco Optix XR takes monitor calibration to a new level of accuracy while being very simple to install and use.  Our experience shows that this device builds a very accurate monitor profile in a few minutes with a minimum of fuss.  It comes complete with a hardware colorimeter for both CRT and LCD monitors and a suite of software tools for just $189.  The Monaco is a must have for photographers who intend to take control of their color correction or those that want their monitors displaying the most accurate color possible. 

Now is time to order!  X-Rite is offering a free upgrade to the Optix Pro on all Optix XR purchased before December 31, 2005.  This is a $169 value.  The Optix Pro upgrade offers advanced software that allows the user extended calibration curve control for more critical monitor to print match and profile checker capability.  View the upgrade certificate at http://xritephoto.com/product/optixxr/ and clicking on the link "Download rebate certificate for more details." 

Further information and the user's guide are available on the web at http://xritephoto.com/product/optixxr/.  Click here to order the Monaco Optix XR online.  Please call your customer service representative to order by phone. 

Carl’s Corner
Mr. Carl ClarkRemember when all pro photographers "walked" their film to the lab for processing and printing?  Times have changed... literally!  Today, an ever increasing number of our customers are using our (Free) PROS online ordering software to upload their images to the lab via a high speed Internet connection to shorten their turnaround time.  While some of our customers do not have access to a high speed internet connection they simply create the order in PROS, zip the file, burn to a CD, and send the CD to the lab in a work order bag marked 'PROS order enclosed'.  By building your order in PROS you have access to lower print prices as well as access to hundreds of graphic products.  Some of the graphic products available in PROS are senior wallets, senior composites, senior calendars, and senior announcements.  Also available is an enormous supply of sports graphic products which include trader cards, magazine covers, memory mates, magnets, cut-outs, buttons and so on.  Other popular products include the composite prints in PROS for building album pages, and our stretch prints that are being used for anything from sports to baby portraits!  Be sure to take advantage of this time saving workflow and these business building products.  For more information contact our customer service department or one of our area service center representatives. 
Giving Back to the Community
One of the things many of you as photographers have been asked to do or offered to do as a business person in your community, is donate your time and/or services to others.  Making a difference in the lives of others is a choice we all like to make.  We would like to share with you some of our recent experiences during this holiday season.  Sometimes even the smallest gift can make such a difference in the lives of others.  [continued...]
A Message from Don Dickson...
Executive Director of the Texas School of Professional Photography
Tips for a Successful Business

Mr. Don DixonI have now been in the studio business for 27 years; I opened the studio when I was 20.  Man, how so much has changed in that time.  I think of all the time I spent processing all our film and printing all our B&W and color prints.  We have now sold all our darkroom equipment and are 100% digital with all new digital printers.  As many things have changed, there are many that have not.  I want to talk about a few things that make a successful business.

1.  Don’t pass up on the volume work.  We have a year round cash flow from our volume work.  We photograph schools, baseball, football, basketball, cheerleading, volleyball, dance teams, class reunions, and graduations, kindergarten, 4th grade, high school, and college.  All these types of jobs keep my name and work out in the public and in their minds.  When it comes time for a family portrait or wedding, they already know who I am and I have a great shot at getting the job.  Today it is very important for our buying public to know who we are and what we can create for them.  It is important that all the kids in my town know who I am and when they get to be seniors, I will be their choice.

2.  You have to stay in touch with your customers.  They have to know how your style is developing.   They love seeing their next-door neighbor in your display or your newsletter.  We participate in a large Arts and Crafts show for our local Rotary club that I am a member of.   We put up a booth and have about 50 portraits, (16x20 – 24x30) of all local families, seniors, children and weddings.  We do not show any of our volume work.  People know my name for the volume work, but at this show we have about 5000 go through and they get to see my best work of all local families.  I really believe that our successful Christmas business is due a lot to this show.  Of course, we have a drawing for a free 16x20 that get everyone to sign up and I can do a mailing to everyone that came to the show.  We have a spot on the registration form that ask if they are interested in family, children, wedding, copy work, etc.  I think it is so important that our customers know whom we are, what we can create, and that we are the studios that they need to choose when they need a photographer.

3.  You have to be the best photographer in your market.  How do you do that?  You have to have the best education you can get.  How do you get that?  You have to attend Texas School of Photography April 23-28 2006 in College Station. You will love the school.  We will have about 1000 photographers in 33 classes several are beginner classes, and are open to everyone.  Most of our students are either working photographers or those who want to take pictures part time and just do a better job in lighting and posing.

The cost is only $425 for TPPA members and $520 for non-members including all evening meals.  We will have a program, party, tradeshow, or program every evening, so you will learn more in this week that you would in a year of college classes.  You can check out the different classes and their descriptions on our web site.  You can also look at the work the classes shot last year under the “Instructor Gallery” tab. 

Registration opens on Jan 4th at 12:00 AM  (midnight on the 3rd) some of the classes do sell out in a few minutes, so you really want to sign up that night to make sure to get the class that you want.

You will have more fun that you can imagine, and learn so much at the same time.

You can find more information on our web site at http://www.tppa.org/school/school.htm.

There is so much that has changed in the 27 years that I have been in the studio business, but there is so much that has not changed.  You have to take care of business; you have to be proactive in creating that business and stay at the top of your craft.  This is an exciting profession and be very rewarding to anyone who pursues excellence.

Have a great day,

Don Dickson

Imaging USA - Right in your own backyard!
January 22-24, 2006 - Austin, Texas
3 Co–Located Events – PPA Annual Convention, IAPEP’s Sports & Event Photographers Conference, and CPI’s Commercial Photography Conference!

The 2 for 1 Buddy Pass is a great deal.  Only $189 for you and a friend to attend three big events. (Member rate for PPA, IAPEP, & CPI members)  For more information and a complete list of speakers and schedule information visit: http://www.imagingusa.org/.

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Date of Publication: December 1, 2005
Pounds Photographic Labs, Inc. • 901 Regal Row, Dallas, TX  75247 • (800)350-5671
©2005 Pounds Photographic Labs, Inc.  All rights reserved.  All other brands and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.