Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I wanted to write today about some shopping cart changes at Mecury Photography.

I began photographing amateur motorsports back in 2004 and continued doing so until early 2007. Back then it was karts and motocross and some football. Then, in early 2007, the demands of the day job got intense. Since it was the day job that paid the mortgage and funded the retirement something had to give, and it just made common sense to park the camera for a bit. I returned to motorsports photography though in late 2009 and have done several events at Harris Hill Road in 2010 so far. Boy have times changed!

The biggest difference I noticed, but did not recognize nor respond to fast enough, was the change in consumer preference in the time I was away from the market. In 2006 my biggest seller, hands down, was the 4x6 print. Well over half my sales were 4x6 prints. Next up were 5x7 and 8x12 prints, in roughly equal numbers. Occasionally I would sell a 20x30 print or a digital file. In two years of karts and motocross I sold less than 5 CDs. I think I sold more 20x30 prints than I did of CD's!

Things are very different today. Today sales have been mostly an equal mix of individual digital files or CD ROMs. I get some print sales from custom-made collages, and I get some print sales from prints-on-metal. I have not sold any "normal" prints worth speaking of. The collages sell if my graphic designs are compelling, which only makes sense, as most people either don't have the software to make their own collages or don't have the skills to do compelling designs. And the metal prints are very cool items that practically require you be a customer of a pro-lab to get made.

In a (belated) realization of how times have changed I've made some changes to the shopping cart. I think this will give everyone more of what they want and at lower prices to boot. Things are simplified now with fewer panels to the shopping cart. We now have "Digital Files", "Multi-Image Collages", "Metal Prints", and "Customized Prints". That's it. Simpler, offering only the stuff people tend to buy these days.

In Digital Files we have only four choices now. A single hi-res JPG, which is the photo exactly as it appears on the website (minus the water mark). A single customized hi-res JPG (more on customization later) for a slightly higher price. A CD of all your images from the event. Or a CD bundled with a customized 20x30 print at a great package price.

In the Multi-Image Collages panel the first new item is the ability to purchase a collage as a digital file, whereas before it could only be purchased as a print. You are effectively paying me for the initial capture of the images and the graphic design work but not paying for a paper print or the shipping of the paper. There are still a few sizes of collage prints for sale, along with a 16x20 collage print-on-metal, which is truly stunning to see. See for example collages I can do for you.

Then there is the Metal Prints panel of the shopping cart. The big change here is the bundling of the 16x20 print on metal with an event CD at a great price savings. Lots of people have been interested in the print on metal, especially after seeing the sample I bring with me to the track. As you can imagine it is an expensive product to have manufactured, but by bundling it with the CD I can present a great value when you buy both. And the metal print can be customized or even a collage if you wish. Just let me know.

Lastly there is the Customized Prints panel of the shopping cart, where I have a handful of print sizes available to choose from.

So... what is customization all about? You can get a customized digital file, customized prints on metal and customized paper prints. But what exactly does that mean? If you purchase a customized product you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire in the shopping cart during the check-out process. You'll have several questions to answer. First off, do you want a special effect done to the photo? Custom black and white conversions can really turn out stunning. I take care and do a manual black and white conversion, not a push-button conversion. The few I've done for people always impress them. In the words of one customer they were shocked at how much the removal of color can really bring out the detail and emotion in the image. I also do pop-art conversions, tilt-shift effects, and the new "wide screen" effect. See for more details and examples. I also let you specify up to two lines of text. Typically people ask to put their name and date on the image. You can also request a track logo. All these things add just a little punch to the image and make it more personal. And this can be done for individual files, individual prints or the print-on-metal.

As always, shoot me an email if you have any questions about anything or if you want something that is not in the shopping cart.