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Tigertoy Digital Photography - Phil's Rambling Rants — LiveJournal
December 14th, 2004
10:01 pm


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Tigertoy Digital Photography
I am resolved to try my best to take the loss of my job as an opportunity and not the end of everything.

In accordance with that, I intend to make a real effort to actually start a small business selling my photographs.  I don't know that I will be able to get anywhere with it, but I do know I can't succeed if I don't try, and I do know that practically everyone who has looked at my pictures have told me that they're really wonderful, and it seems only fair that I should give the world a fair chance to put its money where its mouth is.

So the first purpose of this entry is to announce the unofficial launch of Tigertoy Digital Photography.  It's unofficial in the sense that I haven't done anything at all about legally forming a company, but I want to start telling the world that I'm serious about this; hopefully the world will respond by holding my nose to the grindstone, feet to the fire, or whatever metaphor I should flog to actually make it happen.

The second purpose here is a plea for help.  I am not sure exactly what I will be selling or through what channels, but I do want to have a web site.  And I know just about nothing about running a web site.  I think I can fumble through the HTML necessary to actually present the information, at least to start with, and I at least know enough about HTML to have a clue where to look for what I don't know.  What I don't know is:  How do I select a web hosting provider, how much should I expect to pay, what functionality should I be asking for, and how do I use that functionality to take some HTML that I write on my own computer and put it onto the web site?  I don't want something that is locked into a specific proprietary web page creator, especially not from Microsoft.  I want to write my own HTML and run my own site, but I need some pointers to get started.

The third purpose is to ask for general advice from anyone who might be a potential customer.  What would you be inclined to buy?  8x10 framed prints?  Smaller framed prints?  Smaller unframed prints?  Refrigerator magnets?  T-shirts?  Greeting cards?  A coffee table book?  Custom photography services (you pay me to come to your party or (shudder) wedding or whatever and walk around taking pictures, like I do at cons)?

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(5 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:December 15th, 2004 01:10 am (UTC)
I think shirts, notecards and/or magnets would be a great start. I'd stay away from weddings for now (people tend to take their wedding photos *really* seriously), but maybe look into photographing some local business events. Get your business card out there. Contact local hotels, event planners, etc. Enter competitions (even county or state fairs next season) so that you can bill yourself as 'award-winning photographer Tigertoy".

Good luck!
[User Picture]
Date:December 15th, 2004 07:44 am (UTC)
I don't imagine myself as a regular wedding photographer taking the official posed photographs, but some people want to have secondary photographers mingling with the crowd, taking candid/ambient shots of the wedding guests and scene. I think I could do that, and I would be willing to give it a try if someone wanted to hire me, but I wouldn't want to be responsible for taking the only pictures of someone's wedding.
[User Picture]
Date:December 15th, 2004 04:04 am (UTC)

web pages

The good news is, HTML doesn't much care which system writes it; it all uploads the same, and the exact upload protocol is dependent on the hosting system.

This just about exhausts my expertise on HTML, however. Fortunately, there are LOTS of fannish types around who ARE knowledgeable about it, whose brains you can pick.

I would also suggest offering photos of costume contest participants at conventions, especially if you can come up with a unique presentation gimmick for the finished images.
[User Picture]
Date:December 15th, 2004 05:34 am (UTC)
Almost sounds like my last line of work, except that I haven't done a lot of web server administration or hosting -- mostly the programming end of it.

Many ISPs -- and I'm reasonably sure yours does -- offer web hosting services. You'll have some disk space on the server to hold your files. It's probably not that much more -- about $5/month -- to upgrade from mail-only to mail-and-web.

As for uploading your files there, it can be done with an ftp (file transfer protocol) progam. Windows has a rudimentary one; there are shareware versions available as well. Note that if your ISP is security-conscious and uses secure FTP (like mine does), ask them for a copy of the program or where it could be found.

The biggest expense is the personalized domain name, if you choose to obtain one. That can run up to $50/year, but it can be had for less.

I can understand your aversion to Microsoft's products. I used an early version of FrontPage on a job and hated how it munged my hand-crafted HTML code into something it thought was better. Feh. Also find out if your ISP uses IIS (Microsoft's web server), Apache (nice open-source web server), or some other web server program.

If you're going to really delve into it and have online ordering, then it starts to get more complicated and expensive.
Date:December 17th, 2004 08:26 pm (UTC)
Run by Don Meyer, this is where I host my sites. Prices online

8x10 matted prints
Note cards (sell 6 to a pack with envelopes)

pet photogarphy - make up flyer ask local vets and pet stores if you can put it up.
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