It’s been a spell since I got a post up here so it’s time to get the wheels spinning again. Truth is my wheels have been spinning on a regular basis the last couple months. I thought I would make this a sort of, “what have I been up to” post. I am going to plant a seed in my mind and see if I can make these monthly insight posts a regular part of the blog. No long dissertations or philosophical ramblings, just simple day to day stuff. I always think folks would find such things rather boring, but then again, how would I know? So here we go.
For some time I have toyed with the idea of making note cards. I have actually made them in the past. I spent time partaking in a few local art shows back in 2013, 2014, and 2015. The typical art festivals where there are hundreds of artists booths of all kind. I was mostly showing large prints. The only thing I can say for sure about doing this is, it is one hell of a lot of work. The preparation alone is extremely time consuming. The cost to get started is almost scary. My trimline booth setup alone was an initial $3000 cost. And that’s just for an empty booth! Then there is the making of prints, accessories for displays, show fees, and travel. One must be overly prepared when attempting to do just one show. Folks who do this full time and have for a few years I’m sure get a strict routine down, but starting out is nothing short of overwhelming.
I knew after a few years of only 3 shows a year this is something that I could not continue. It really becomes a full time job if one wants to try to be profitable. It was a great learning experience and one that I have not totally given up on. When time allows I will be considering it once again. It may be the best way I know of to reach potential customers in the shortest amount of time. That is if you don’t keel over in exhaustion first!
Okay, enough of the art show digression. The point being, I developed and had note cards back then. I was printing them myself as needed and had moderate success with them.
We aim above the mark to hit the mark.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Over the past few years I have thought about making them again. But, like many things I never put the needed time in to doing so. The main obstacle I always encountered was the note card stock itself. I didn’t want cheap flimsy card stock. If I was going to produce these they needed to be as high quality as possible and still very affordable. Those two don’t usually go together, that being high quality and affordability.
In April of this year I thought I should make a serious effort in bringing a few note cards back and offering them here on my website. I tried not to overthink this and sat myself down and came up with 10 images to offer as note cards. I then began researching various card stock. I purchased 5 different types of blank printable cards. Most required the purchase of a minimum of 100 pieces. I then began making some test prints. What I found was the lower cost ones did not meet my approval, and the more expensive ones which produced very nice finished printed cards were cost prohibitive in the quantities I wanted to start out with.
I had already determined a price range for cards, packaging, and shipping. I considered quantities per set, price per set of various quantities. Most options were just barely doable. Then there would be the time needed to produce them. All this may have still been doable if I was committed to purchasing all materials in large quantities, like a minimum of 1000 and then devote time to just card making. Well, that just wasn’t going to happen. I knew there had to be a better way.
It was then I decided to contact the printer that I have used in years past that printed my calendars. I found out that they would print smaller quantities of various cards and still allow for bulk pricing. Most high end print producers would price each image at the quantity to be printed. So for example, if I wanted 100 cards each of 10 different images, the price would be based on 10 separate orders of a quantity of 100. As opposed to a quantity of 1000. Believe me, there is a tremendous lowering in cost per card once you start increasing the quantity. This was exactly what I was needing. Now I just needed to get some test prints on various card stock and see which was best. By the end of May I had an acceptable supply of high quality affordable cards in hand. I really couldn’t be happier with my decision.
I know that was quite a rambling on about these note cards. But, as an independent photographer who does have a separate full time job it took up a big chunk of my spare time for nearly a month. Exciting stuff huh! Yeah, I know, don’t let your eyes roll to far back in your head.
Okay, lets get up to date a bit more. Due to the current global health situations taking place at present my other full time job has required some changing of work hours which has really screwed my schedules up. This will continue for a bit more I’m afraid so I will have to learn to make due. In addition to a change in daily routines, this last week I actually had some additional free time, Whaoo! The only problem is I found myself somewhat confused with what to do. With the changing of sleep, work, eat, hours, my concentration has been a little less than I would like as well.
A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.
So what have I done this last week you may ask? Of course, more photography stuff! It is now summer here in the plains and with that wildflowers are blooming which is fantastic. As anyone who has been in Kansas in the summer knows, the taller the grass gets and the more colorful the prairies get the hotter the days get. As much as I enjoy exploring the prairies and grasslands the heat can be stifling. Not be mention the chiggers and mosquitoes. Time in the flint hills and prairies needs to be planned well and typically around the very beginning of the day and very end. So that is what I have done on a few occasions lately along with working on images in my archives. Which actually is always needed and will never be fulling completed.
I have been playing around with some new software and attempting to learn some new processing techniques. Whenever these things happen, new software and the learning of new techniques I always find myself going back to existing image that I may already offer on the website and attempting to reprocess them. This along with the unprocessed images in my archives has meant hours and hours in front of the computer staring at images, lightroom, photoshop, and various image processing software. Now I am attempting to get caught up on my blog here as well. Oh the work never ends. But that I can only be grateful for. More reasons to rise in the morning and be thankful for rest at night.
As I have reached this point in this post I am wondering what image or images I should include. First I would again mention the note cards which are easy enough to find but here’s a quick link to them; note cards. Along with that I think I will include a little gallery of the images I have worked on this last week. Some are newly processed files of previously offered images and some newly added.
Get into a line that you will find to be a deep personal interest, something you really enjoy spending twelve to fifteen hours a day working at, and the rest of the time thinking about.
Some of the images I have been working on the past week plus. Some are reworks of previously added images along with a few new. From the springtime prairies close to home to an autumn trip last year to the San Juan mountain region of Colorado. I made a small dent in the work that needed to be done. I guess the old saying holds true, no rest for the weary. (Yeah, it could be, for the wicked), but I better stick with weary.
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Beautiful image, Brad. And, I didn’t roll my eyes. You are far more ambitious than I am in working both booths and on cards.
Thanks Monte! My ambitions does have its moments. The older it get the less they seem to appear. But, I am going to appreciate each one that much more.