First a big thanks to everybody who downloaded our new magazine, “Light it” yesterday. Launching a magazine in this day and age is tricky business, but the initial response was even better than we had hoped, and we’re very grateful to our readers, writers, and the industry for their support and enthusiasm for this launch. It was really an exciting day for us.
Of course, with something new like this it has generated a lot of emotion (ahem) and questions surrounding the launch, so I thought I’d addresses a few of them here today in a quick Q&A. Here goes:
Q. I know the premiere issue is free, but how much are subsequent issues?
A. They’re just $2.99 per issue. Cheap.
Q. How can you sell it so cheap?
A. We followed the model of more established magazines in that we clearly have no business plan, or a dream of ever making a profit. However, if at any time we suddenly feel like it somehow could become profitable, don’t worry—we’ll raise the price.
Q. Why is everybody so mad that you released this new magazine?
A. Everybody’s not mad. Just the folks who don’t have iPads.
Q. Are you planning to release an Android version?
A. For now, we’re just releasing this iPad version.
Q. You are totally being an elitist by just addressing people who can afford an iPad, aren’t you?
A. A Nikon SB-900 flash runs around $497.50 at B&H Photo. You can buy an iPad for $2.50 more. I guess anyone who has two dollars and 50 cents more than what a SB-900 costs is now part of a privileged, elitist group. Where does that put people who own an Nikon or Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 at around $2,200? Clearly, they should be in jail.
Q. How much do you actually get each year for hawking Apple’s products?
A. In the interest of full disclosure, we are paid approximately $631,000 annually from our product promotions deal with Apple, including what we do in print, in our Podcasts, and at live events.
Q. Are you kidding me?!
A. Of course I’m kidding you. We don’t get a dime from Apple. Never, ever have. We couldn’t get Apple to send us as much as a free pencil if we tried (though I did get a free Apple t-shirt about 7 years ago from a guy who worked at an Apple store, which was pretty cool).
Q. So you mean, you chose to release for the iPad because that’s what the vast majority of people are using?
A. This is going to be shocking, but….yes. It was a business decision. A simple one at that.
Q. But what about all the Android tablets and all other tablets?
A. Read this article from CNN.com two days ago, and that should make it obvious.
Q. I understand the desire to to just release on the iPad, but you are seriously limiting your market.
A. I really appreciate the business advice, and even more so, you being so concerned about us limiting our profits.
Q. So will there ever be a version for Android?
A. Aquafadas (The French company that we worked with to create the iPad mag App) doesn’t currently have a solution for Android, but they’re hoping to have one in place by November of this year. If we feel the magazine is a big enough success to expand its distribution to Android (which I hope it is), it ‘ll take us a couple of months to test the new software, get the kinks out and so on, so the first possible launch of an Android edition would be after the first of the year.
Q. How about a version for the Mac App store, so I can watch it on my MacBook Pro
A. When we came up with the idea for this magazine, we didn’t say “We want to create a digital magazine.” We wanted to create a magazine for the iPad. It is precisely what inspired us. This was never intended to be a Web-based magazine, or one that could be read on a computer, or a PDF—we wanted to create something around the iPad. If there wasn’t an iPad, we never would have wanted to create the magazine in the first place.
Q. But aren’t we entitled to have this App on the operating system we chose?
A. The creation of the App was not funded by your tax dollars, so therefore….no.
A. No buts. This isn’t the only resource in the world for lighting techniques. Try this (link)
Q. Why are there two downloads for just one App?
A. The first one is basically the magazine rack—-where future will be available, and that’s the smaller download. The big download (the second one) is actually the magazine itself. The good news is; you only have to download the magazine rack once, so in the future it’ll just be issues that download.
Q. Why is the download so large?
A. Most magazines we’ve seen on the App Store run around the 250-300MB or larger range. Embedding HD video like we did does affects the file size, but at the same time thanks to that you don’t have to be connected to the Internet to watch the video. That being said; never fear—-we’re definitely working on ways to keep the file size smaller and more manageable.
Q. Are you planning on adding any new features? (bookmarking, highlighting, downloading in background, and so on?
A. You betcha. We are the first U.S. customer for the French developer of the mag App and they’re very responsive and forward thinking, so we’re going to be adding lots of great things going forward, but we’re being careful to keep it simple and intuitive and not making it gimmicky or complex.
Q. When is the 2nd issue coming out?
A. The 2nd issue is already complete, and we’re going to release it a little sooner than the normal 8-issues per year because we just can’t wait (so look for it in September, or very early Oct). The 2nd issue is that much better, that much slicker, with more pages, and just some flat-out amazing tutorials, tips and lighting techniques.
Q. What about a version for iPhones or Android phones?
A. I wouldn’t hold your breath for that one.
Q. Why not?
A. Because eventually you’ll pass out.
Q. Well, can I still carry on and whine about the whole Android thing like I never read any of this?
A. Absolutely. Could I stop you anyway?
Well, that’s it for my Q&A today. Of course, we have a more detailed FAQ on the Light It landing page, so I hope you’ll check that out, too.
Thanks again to every one who helped make this launch such a success, and in particular I want to thank our in-house Creative Director and all around wonder-guy, Felix Nelson, who led this product from an idea to a full-blown magazine in just a few short months and did a brilliant job from initial layout to launch. He and his team did a remarkable job (a special shout-out and major gratitude to our own Dave Korman who was instrumental in making this all happen, and who helped in the development and testing of the process).
Thanks everybody for making it a very exciting time to be a magazine publisher again! :)
At every seminar we do, at the end of the day we ask the participants to fill out an evaluation form, to let us know how we did, but most importantly what we can do to make the day even better. I know those eval forms are a pain in the butt to fill out, but after the seminar I personally read every single one of them. I want to find out what’s resonating with the participants, what they want more of, what they want less of, and what I can add or take away that would make the day better.
I take this stuff really seriously
In fact, there are four things I changed, tweaked and added in Orlando, Cologne, and Amsterdam that came directly from the eval forms from my seminars in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. In fact, I shot a special on location video for my seminar just to be able to add more about shooting with off-camera hot-shoe flash. I also added a product shoot to the day, and I adjusted the amount of time, and type of retouching I’m doing in the sessions—all based on their feedback.
What I learned in Germany and Holland
As I mentioned yesterday, I know people are struggling with light meters, and I’m going to try to find a way to incorporate enough about using a flash meter in the day to at least clear some of the fog and confusion—even just a bit (including a great tip from Frank Doorhof’s presentation in Amsterdam). I’m also going to post a short demo-video they can watch afterward to help them get up and running from scratch. Hey, it’s a start.
The Whole “Lightroom vs Bridge” thing
Matt Kloskowski and I wound up doing something earlier this year to help our seminar participants with the confusion a lot of them are experiencing because they have the Bridge and Camera Raw, so they figure they don’t need Lightroom. We did this in response to question after question about this at our seminars, and so we create one hundred 60-second or less short video clips called “100 ways Lightroom kicks the Bridge’s A$$!” Even though it was made for our seminar attendees, you can watch it right here.
Overthinking and Making the Hidden Stuff More Discoverable
Yesterday, in Part One, I mentioned how a lot of folks seemed to be overthinking all this lighting and Photoshop stuff, and some stuff they want to do is already there—-in Photoshop and Lightroom—it’s just hidden beneath the surface. To that end, I’m going to step-up my crusade to make all this stuff more accessible, more fun and just plain easier. I want to be the guy that lifts the veil from some of this hidden stuff, and I really want to make learning Photoshop and Lightroom less of a mystery and more of pleasure.
I wasn’t judging—I was just reporting
Yesterday I mentioned that nobody ever asks about Creativity, or Composition, or Art, or any of those types of things at the seminars—it’s all pretty much questions about watt power, sync speeds, Photoshop techniques, and stuff like that. More technical stuff. I wasn’t judging—I was just reporting on that fact.
That being said, I’m working on a new project about Photo Composition
Although I don’t get asked a lot about composition in my live seminars, I know from emails and comments that a lot of photographers out there are struggling with it, and recently I had kind of an epiphany about teaching the art of photographic composition (and why every book on the topic teaches it pretty much the same way it has always been taught—-rule of thirds, leading lines, and so on). However, I think I’ve come up with a brand new way of teaching photo composition that I’ve never seen anyone teach ever, and I think has a chance to help photographers in a really impactful and groundbreaking way.
I’m going to start this project by inviting about 150 photographers to join me one evening, in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater in Tampa, Florida, as I present this one-hour class on composition (which will also be taped for Kelby Training Online). More on this as we lock down a date, but it’s the very next class I want to produce, and I’m really excited about it.
I need your feedback
I’m heading down to Miami with my tour next Monday, and then to Denver, Portland, Los Angeles, and Philly—-all in September. If you come out to join me for any of those days, you’ll benefit from all the people who filled out evaluation forms at all the seminars prior to that. But that’s the great part of doing an on-going tour—you get to tweak and improve it as you go. If you do come out, take an extra minute and let me know what’s working and what you want added, so the tour can continue to evolve and grow.
I don’t have all the answers
I don’t have half of them. But I really want to help, and I’ll do everything I can to help you get the most out of your photography, out of lighting, Photoshop, Lightroom, and just enjoying all of these awesome tools we get to use today. Thanks everybody. Your comments on those eval forms, and here on the blog, truly do make a difference.
My Light it, Shoot it, Retouch It Tour is in New York City on Thursday, with around 900 or so photographers who will be there and I want you to be there too!!!
It’s not to late if you want to snag one of the remaining seats. It’s only $99 for the full day, including a detailed step-by-step workbook that follows right along with what I’m doing all day, plus some other goodies I can’t tell you about until the workshop (by the way, it’s only $79 if you’re an NAPP member, so you gotta go!).
It’ll be a blast, plus you have no risk at all, because we have a 100% money-back guarantee if it’s not the best seminar of its kind you’ve ever attended, at any price, period! What do you have to lose? Don’t just read about it on my blog on Friday—come on down to the Javits center and be a part of it. Here’s the event details. I hope you can make it (and if you come, make sure you come up and say hi).
See you there! :)
P.S. I did a short video clip about the seminar–you can watch it right here.
I did a quick video about my first shoot with the just announced new Westcott Spiderlite TD-6s. If you’ve got two minutes and 16 seconds, check it out (I interrupt the shoot briefly to show you the difference between the old TD5-s and the new TD-6s and it will be instantly clear what’s new).
For more on the TD-6s, visit Westcott’s site. Also, if you’re not following Westcott on Facebook, you oughta. They always have cool stuff going on, or info on lighting techniques, giveaways, and stuff like that. Here’s the link.