Fire Photos Fan my Flames

Burning Man

Whew! It’s hot in here. I’ve slaved over a hot computer for two days to sort out my website. I’ve finally got organised enough to put some of my work up for sale. Building a website, for a photographer who is not a geek, has been a labour of titanic proportions. I thought starting off with just one set of postcards, already in stock, would be a good way to start. I tried to think through the steps needed to get this up and running. Add the pictures and relevant text, set up Paypal, follow the instructions on my site to make payment possible. It seems simple when put like that, but crikey, what a job! I’d far rather be behind the camera. But nowadays, no-one else is going to sell your stuff for you. I tried agencies, but they really don’t do a good job for most artists, as competition is massive and they tend to concentrate on the photographers that are already selling. That seems a bit short-sighted to me, as they risk losing their best earners and won’t have replacements if they don’t back newcomers.

Still, now I’ve chosen to do it myself, I’m less worried about agencies and their foibles and more worried about my brain going into meltdown figuring out how to make my website work! The heat is now on. Smouldering fire images adorn my site along with a payment method. Hooray!!!

Now I’ve learned how to do it, I’m going through my site, picking out the best images and they too will soon be on sale. I know how well they look from past prints I’ve had in exhibitions and given as gifts. I’m happy with the top quality printing service I’ve found producing Fuji acid free, guaranteed prints, so that’s as close as I can get to ensuring my customers will also be happy with my work.

Now all I need to do is cool down, get on with it,  and somehow let the world know I’m here. Wish me luck!

You could help, actually. If you have time to look through my photos, you could let me know which are your favourites. Which might you buy? Just follow the link to my site, caffimages.co.uk (link below) and leave me a message, either on here or via my site’s contact page. Thanks!

Spiral

Advertisements

Moving from showing to selling. A photographers dillema!

The photo reflects my moods as I try to sort out my dillema .

It’s a problem. I did work in retail many years ago. I ran a health shop. It was easy then to work out costings, because there is already a working model out there to use in that kind of retail environment. You buy at one price, add in running costs of the shop, (at a standard rate), VAt etc and sell at a standard mark up price.

This is different. Not only was running retail for me now more than ten years ago, but the variables here are very different. I work from home. I spend lots of time on taking photos. I travel sometimes to get shots. Then there are all the costs of getting the precious print in your hands, obtaining the order and payment and sending it out to the customer. So, you have paypal costs, printing costs that vary depending on how many prints you order and what size they are, pricing, packing and postage costs incurred in sending to the customer, not to mention electricity, upkeep of equipment and time, website costs etc. How on earth do you start to make sense of that and come up with a pricing structure that makes a profit AND is going to tempt people to buy?

All this assumes my prints are up to quality of course. I’ve done this by exhibiting locally and selling framed prints, but as I’m limited to what I can do in this way I want to sell online. Hence, I’ve ended up with this set of questions from which my head is still reeling. Unfortunately I’m not that business savvy (not online anyway). It was different in retail. People come to your shop and you have a captive audience. Online, people look and don’t comment, and there’s obviously no feedback if they don’t. In a shop you can ask the customer why he buys or doesn’t buy certain goods, and adjust stock accordingly.

Prints vary enormously in printing costs. So do you buy in a stock of prints to keep costs down and hope they sell, or only order a print when it’s ordered by a customer, thus making each one more expensive?

Arghhh. Your comments/ideas would be more than welcome. I think I need a cool drink and a lie down in a dark place!

A UK Farm Celebrating the Past

A happy pig that enjoyed having his ear scratched

A happy pig that enjoyed having his ear scratched

A happy pig with her new family

A happy pig with her new family

I thought I’d digress from my usual meanderings today. Looking at the shots I took on a small farm visit made me quite nostalgic. I’m sure the modern equipment farms use today are essential to keep us all fed, but doesn’t all the old stuff look great? It made me think about what we’ve lost in our countryside due to the pressures of so many people to feed. We can’t blame the farmers, as they simply had to follow policies government set for them to increase production. But having been back to a conservation site trying to redress the balance (see previous post), I simply feel whistful about what we have lost. The meadows full of butterflies and bees (their plight has been well publicised), the cornfields dotted with poppies, and people’s connection to the earth. In my own area, which is mixed private and council housing the kids watched me sprinkle poppy seeds over the grass verges. ‘What’ya doin?’ they asked me, so I told them. ‘Huh, they won’t grow round here.’ Was the reply. How sad that young people have given up before they’ve started, and have so little connection to the planet that supports them.

When I was a kid, I played in hedgerows, brought new ‘pets’ home in the form of caterpillars and watched them grow and change into butterflies. I visited my aunt’s farm at the weekend and fought the hens for their eggs. Now the latest game seems to be all young people are interested in. So my photos for the day look back to a time when less damage was done to the land and machinery was on a more human scale. Animals were treated well and the smithy was an important part of the scene. What do you think? Am I just a sad, aging hippy or should we all be taking more notice of what’s around us?

An old fashioned Smithy

An old fashioned Smithy

Elderly, retired farm tractor

Elderly, retired farm tractor

Spiritual Weekend with a Stone Circle

Jon spinning six feet of flaming kevlar rope

 

Well, I’m back. Health issues are finally improving and stress levels are down. So I made it back to a very special place last weekend. Fifteen or so years ago I was party to a once in a lifetime opportunity. A new stone circle was built in a very special farm in Yorkshire. Only about 200 people in the whole of this country of over 60 million can say that. I feel very honoured to have had that experience.Lime tree farm is now on the map as a conservation site. Its owner, Peter, is a very special man. He sees himself as guardian of the land and its inhabitants. Being there again and spending time touring the site, talking to Peter and the other members of our camp who also helped build the circle has renewed my faith in human nature. This camp came at exactly the right time. Our lives had once again been disrupted by outside influences that threatened our sanity. People who are on power trips, eager to ensure tha they enforce their attitude that their way is the right way and the only way were getting us down. All gone!

I won’t allow any more of that negativity back into my conciousness. I’ve been brought back to my pagan roots, and now, with renewed  enthusiasm I will resume my life as I want it to be. ‘Do as you will and harm none’  has always been my principle guide in life. Imagine if everyone used that principle. The people at the camp I attended all subscribe to it, and we had a fabulous weekend together in complete harmony. We all try to live life peacefully, to see the beauty in the world and try to conserve what we can of it.

I took a lot of photos. We have some talented people in our group. One of which is Jon, who spins fire on a 6′  length of Kevlar rope, purely for our entertainment. That’s todays photo. We enjoyed singing, guitar, drumming, flutes, singing, comedy and pasta donated freely because we forgot ours. We slept peacefully with our tents and camper doors unlocked. We felt safe. We left our stuff lying around knowing no-one would touch it. That’s the ideal world we should all live in.

On the site, I saw a field of wild, native orchids. Not one or two, but too many to count. They are there because someone genuinely cares. With us on the camp was an eighteen year old young man who had never attended such a camp before. He was very nervous when he arrived, but left with new friends, was accepted for who he is and went home very happy. He’s learned a lot in a short time, and I’m sure is one of the people who will continue to care when us oldies, or elders, have gone. My own son, ages twenty, also came with us. He has been through hell lately, and also learned a lot, shared a lot and found his place building the fire and keeping us all warm. He has a hard time in the everyday world because he’s a bit different. He was totally accepted by the group and had positive feedback from them. In the everyday world he gets nothing but problems and bullying because he finds it difficult to work out who are the goodies and who are the baddies.

Why does the world have to be such a mess of power trippers, ego maniacs and greedy people? What happened to caring, sharing, understanding and making time for others? Why do my beliefs attract such scorn and derision? I’m a peaceful soul. Why does trouble come and find me when I’m hiding away doing my ‘thing’?

Anyway, positivity is back, negativity is banished and photography is King. I’ll carry on trying to point people’s eyes at beauty in the world. I’ll try to lead by example and continue my quest for more understanding and appreciation of difference. Each and every human being deserves to be accepted for their differences. Forget skin colour, belief systems and sexual orientation. Those differences are what make us as a species. Without them we might as well all be snakes, cows or rabbits or any other animal. Even they have different personalities, but somehow they don’t spend their lives trying to make the others in their species exactly the same as them. And if they were, they’d die out. We need individuality. We need all the qualities that combined we have, or we’d still be living in caves and may never have discovered fire. We would have no-one to learn from. We would be extremely boring. I don’t think I’d want to be human if we were all the same.

Crow Circle

Long live difference and banish prejudice. Let’s open our eyes to beauty and be thankful we can all enjoy it.

%d bloggers like this: