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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2005 5:22 pm    Post subject: Makers site product photography quality VS quality here!         Reply with quote

In general I find that the quality of Picts by members of this site and Nathan in particular are much superior to those on the makers sites.

Now I would recommend that better shots would help the makers sell more product: Better quality and also the products shown from more angles.

Now a possible " Money making " suggestion to help finance this site would be for Nathan to travel to A & A, Albion or others and take high quality Picts for them and for this site: The cost being covered by the makers with enough profit to help pay for this site and Nathan's time and travel expenses.

At the same time, taking notes for reviews. Alternatively, the makers could send a few of their product at a time to Nathan to avoid travel expenses, as new Picts are produced the various site pictures could be upgraded.

To summarize : myArmoury would offer a product photography service to industry professionals twinned with reviews of the products ( Might there be conflict of interest issue ??? )

The actual logistics and commercial viability, not to mention the time involved I have no idea if this would be workable Question

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2005 5:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've offered my services to 'em all, but they're unable to afford it. This is true even with the major discounts over my professional rates.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2005 6:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
I've offered my services to 'em all, but they're unable to afford it. This is true even with the major discounts over my professional rates.


Perhaps you should select some items from a vendor and offer to photo them for free. Not everything, just a few items as a proof of concept.

Then track whether improved photos lead to increased sales.

Everyone should have all the justification they need at that point.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2005 6:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
Nathan Robinson wrote:
I've offered my services to 'em all, but they're unable to afford it. This is true even with the major discounts over my professional rates.


Perhaps you should select some items from a vendor and offer to photo them for free. Not everything, just a few items as a proof of concept.

Then track whether improved photos lead to increased sales.

Everyone should have all the justification they need at that point.


Nathan's already photographed many items featured on this site for free. What more justification and proof of quality is needed? The fact is that most of these companies exist on a shoestring. They simply don't have the money for it.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2005 6:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's not that their photographs are bad, they just don't have that eye candy quality that helps sales.

And, I guess Patrick is right that they just can't afford it.

Having the person who has taken their photograph for them, usually someone in house, take a photography course might be cost effective if that person only needs to learn a few techniques: Mostly using good lightning and manual settings on the camera. Flash photography gives you random results with lots of unwanted shadows and overexposed areas on shiny surfaces.

Actually good photography happens outside the camera in the positioning of the lighting, softening filters over the lights and choice of background. With the camera only iris opening / duration of exposure and lens type need to be figured out.

Light it until it looks good from the angle of the lens then take the picture !

Simple, but hard to do, like saying I take this pencil and just draw what I see: Easy to say when you have drawing talent and impossible when you don't.

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2005 7:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
Perhaps you should select some items from a vendor and offer to photo them for free. Not everything, just a few items as a proof of concept.


1) I don't work on spec -- that's for amatures

2) I've already provided a proof of concept through my personal work

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2005 7:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan: You definitely have nothing to prove and when it's your profession you don't want to just give your time away.

I don't think Joe meant that you had to prove yourself or the quality of your work: He may have meant, the way I interpret it, that they need proof that superior photography would improve sales. I think it would, but these makers don't have the up-front money available even if they were sure it would work.

It may be a case of " great idea " / " sorry can't afford it " Big Grin

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2005 8:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sorry if I sounded offended. I wasn't... it just came off wrong. I often do that. bah Happy
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2005 9:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
I'm sorry if I sounded offended. I wasn't... it just came off wrong. I often do that. bah Happy


You did not sound offended to me.

You and Patrick are both right about already having proved your concept, here.

However, sometimes selling the amature way is easier. It can help reduce the perception of risk. Even big corporations do it all the time. Cool

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
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"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2005 10:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Joe Fults wrote:
Nathan Robinson wrote:
I've offered my services to 'em all, but they're unable to afford it. This is true even with the major discounts over my professional rates.


Perhaps you should select some items from a vendor and offer to photo them for free. Not everything, just a few items as a proof of concept.

Then track whether improved photos lead to increased sales.

Everyone should have all the justification they need at that point.


Nathan's already photographed many items featured on this site for free. What more justification and proof of quality is needed? The fact is that most of these companies exist on a shoestring. They simply don't have the money for it.


Guess I was a bit cryptic in my reply, so here's the verbose version. I hope I don't make everything more confusing than I already have.

It not proof of quality, its proof of results that may be required. Specifically a percentage of increased sales directly linked to improved photos. Case studies form other industries might be enough to do it, or it might require something in the context of this industry to be convincing.

This thread is suggesting that a business invest their capital on better pictures, which has a cost. The justification of the investment is, or at least is implied to be, increased sales. Increased sales creates increased contribution margin, blah, blah, blah, and interestingly enough increased costs (increased sales can be a bad thing at times, just ask somebody working at GM in a couple of months). If you have an accurate forecast of what the investment will do to the firms cash flows, I don't know if something like that exists in this case, you can compute an IRR or NPV to decide whether or not to make the investment.

Assuming the firm in question is solvent, they have some cash flow to invest (in themselves) either from operations, investments, or financing. The challange for any business is deciding where to invest so as to maximize the value of the investment (to make things easy assume the business is only going to invest in itself), especially if the amount available for investment is small.

I'm just suggested that the financial reward of the investment may have to be demonstrated to secure the initial capital expenditure. As Nathan pointed out it is an amature way of selling, but its also a way to justify investment when capital is expensive or cash is limited.

Anyway hope this does not sound too stupid, and I'm really not trying to tell everyone how to do things. I'm in the middle of more corporate indoctrination and this was an irresistable opportunity to talk about something interesting to me (finance that is).

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2005 10:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
He may have meant, the way I interpret it, that they need proof that superior photography would improve sales. I think it would, but these makers don't have the up-front money available even if they were sure it would work.


Yes.
Big Grin

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
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"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Jul, 2005 6:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that we all agree that better product photos would help sell more product. I suspect that the manufacturers would agree with that concept on a subjective basis. However, implementing better photography would have a definite cost. I believe that the amount of the benefit would be impossible to calculate with any reasonable confidence, since I doubt there are any applicable, reliable cost/benefit data.
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Jul, 2005 8:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Would better photos really lead to more sales in 'this' market? I mean, sword fans are going to seek out the product and buy it so long as the photos are decent. This isn't a market in which there is an extraordinary amount of competition, or an unlimited market. This is really a rather small market. Indeed, even the gun market isn't that big, and that's a much larger market. '

Personally, I would suggest Nathan take the pictures in exchange for free swords. Wink

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Jul, 2005 8:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
Personally, I would suggest Nathan take the pictures in exchange for free swords.


In that case the swords wouldn't be free, they'd be payment for a rendered service.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 16 Jul, 2005 3:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From another topic Aaron Schnatterly wrote:

( A & A Gustav Vasa rapier. )
" Nice! Alright, Steve, now THOSE are some pictures! Now, I can see details clearly that I really wanted...

I had actually looked a number of times at this piece on the A&A site, but I had sort of shrugged it off. It seemed dark, and rather unappealing. I've now gone back and looked again - still just didn't hit me. Somehow, I guess I thought I had checked out the review (tried to make it through all of them - must have skipped this one mistakenly)... This is a very attractive piece, when the details can be seen! Yeah, I can see the possibility of one of these making it's way to my place at some point. "

" WHEN THE DETAILS CAN BE SEEN " !!! : Sort of makes THE point doesn't it Razz Laughing Out Loud

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Jonathon Janusz





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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jul, 2005 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been watching this topic for a while and thought I would bring up a different point.

I think the manufacturers are on a more productive track (marketing-wise) to generating sales within the market with current strategies. (Note that I make a distinction between generating sales within the market and generating sales from introducing new consumers into the market.) I have owned and passed along some very lovely looking swords in my time collecting not because the pieces lacked a "look" I wanted, but rather because the feel in hand (and in some cases blade performance/characteristics) were not to the level of accuracy or quality that I wanted. In fact, I think that more than aesthetics has caused me to part ways with all the swords I have passed along. That is why I believe that campaigning at shows and events where the makers can have their clients pick up, examine, and handle their pieces does far more for the marketing dollar within the market than revising pictures (please don't get me wrong - photos are very important, just perhaps the cost-benefit analysis weighs more in favor of the live demonstration).

I consider a sword purchase as being "sight unseen" until I have the opportunity to handle and personally examine either the piece I am buying or an example of it from a production setting. By looking at pictures and statistics I can get a pretty good idea whether or not I COULD like the piece, I am really not sure if I DO like it until I get it in hand. Case in point, after reading the review and doing some research, I thought I would really like the A&A French Medeival Sword - even moreso than perhaps my favourite Henry V (in particular, the aesthetics of the French appealed to me). I got a chance to handle one at Bristol yesterday and, although the sword is nice and I wouldn't kick it out of bed in the morning, I found I still like the handling/dynamics/proportions of the Henry V better - very similar swords on paper/pictures but a world of difference in the hand. If I only had about $600 to spend, I would have been just a little disappointed purchasing the French before the Henry V if I had to make the decision "sight unseen".

My $.02
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jul, 2005 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathon Janusz wrote:
......I believe that campaigning at shows and events where the makers can have their clients pick up, examine, and handle their pieces does far more for the marketing dollar within the market than revising pictures (please don't get me wrong - photos are very important, just perhaps the cost-benefit analysis weighs more in favor of the live demonstration)....

Excellent point. I have not attended any shows (yet). However, in making my purchases I have carefully studied the comments of those I trust who have personally handled the pieces. Also, from the perspective of the makers, I suspect they can get a better feel of the correlation between the investment of attending the shows/events versus sales of product.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jul, 2005 3:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good point about handling making or breaking it as far a liking a sword or not.

Unfortunately, getting to handle most swords before buying is just not going to happen most of the time if one lives far away from major shows or events. Photos that give you a clear and attractive idea of what the sword is like helps more that a fuzzy or too dark picture that leaves most to the imagination.

Close-ups of special features, decorations and angled shots are also nice to see.

An interesting point is that what you buy is influenced mostly by what you see, and what you keep or pass along depends more on liking or not liking the handling: The good quality reviews here, based on similar criteria by the same people, mean that if you like a reviewed sword after handling, you can have a lot of confidence that you can trust the content of the other reviews when making a decision to buy. ( Like having a favourite Movie reviewer whose taste in movies is similar to yours: If he likes a movie the odds that you will also are high. )

Of course, this is a matter of individual taste or preference: If you are looking for lots of blade presence in a mostly cutting sword you might choose the Gaddhjalt and not the Sempach! Within all the type X, Xa or XII you might have to handle them side by side to find the one that feels the best to you.

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Aaron Schnatterly




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jul, 2005 3:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
From another topic Aaron Schnatterly wrote:

( A & A Gustav Vasa rapier. )
" Nice! Alright, Steve, now THOSE are some pictures! Now, I can see details clearly that I really wanted...

I had actually looked a number of times at this piece on the A&A site, but I had sort of shrugged it off. It seemed dark, and rather unappealing. I've now gone back and looked again - still just didn't hit me. Somehow, I guess I thought I had checked out the review (tried to make it through all of them - must have skipped this one mistakenly)... This is a very attractive piece, when the details can be seen! Yeah, I can see the possibility of one of these making it's way to my place at some point. "

" WHEN THE DETAILS CAN BE SEEN " !!! : Sort of makes THE point doesn't it Razz Laughing Out Loud


In this case, yeah, it does. Thing is, though (as has already been beaten half to death in this thread Razz ) the manufacturers know it already, and are doing what they are capable of. Seriously, things are improving, in a number of ways. A lot of pieces get discussed here. Along with those discussions are different pictures - a lot of pictures. The exposure is coming in that way. Manufacturers are, in fact, starting to put better pictures up. Noting beats a hands-on experience. Short of that, I want a review from someone I trust. Once a maker has earned my respect and trust, I can almost always form my own opinion and be alright with that. Once in a while, you just have to take a chance... I did on Albion the first time, but even then, it was on numerous reviews.

So... back to the point, I guess... yeah, the Gustav Vasa Rapier pics Steve posted got me looking at that piece rather than glancing at it. Then I poked around A&A's site some more. Then I found the German Rapier and German Dagger suite. Pics aren't stellar on that piece either, but I believe there are plenty of details that would stun me if I had it in hand. This pair is now on my "need it" list. SO... if/when I decide it's time for a high-end rapier and take the plunge on these, I'll tell Craig that the reason I did is because of Steve's comments on his sword, where the review was, and so on. (Craig may well be seeing this anyway... Hi, Craig! Wink )

-Aaron Schnatterly
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(He is stronger who conquers himself.)
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jul, 2005 4:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron;

You are right that the original idea of the post that the makers should have better pictures has been beaten to death Razz Laughing Out Loud

But the thread has brought out in the last few post interesting points about what helps us make buying decisions.

I agree that even if the makers would agree that better Picts are a good idea: They can't afford the cost of professional high quality photography. But they can learn how to improve their in house photography at a low cost, or find an amateur with some good skills.

As happens many times I find that when topic stray from their original intent we end up with very productive content anyway. Cool

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Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Sun 17 Jul, 2005 5:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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