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#40304 - 03/12/14 04:40 AM Westminster Dog Show 2014
James Morrissey Offline
I
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/05
Loc: Manhattan, New York, New York
James Morrissey, New York City Pet Photographer, of Wild Coyote Studio, recounts his experience photographing at the Penn Hotel's Green Room for the 2014 Westminster Dog Show!

http://www.nwpphotoforum.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=40306#Post40304

_________________________
Manhattan, New York, NY Pet Photographer


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#40305 - 03/12/14 04:48 AM Re: Westminster Dog Show 2014 [Re: James Morrissey]
James Morrissey Offline
I
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/05
Loc: Manhattan, New York, New York
I went into the 2014 Westminster Dog Show with big expectations. 2013 had been a huge year for us, with our having photographed a record number of dogs. Because we have now been doing this for a while, we also did not have much new to purchase. The first couple of years we had a huge investment in infrastructure to pay for...now, we are down to a few new drops and some new prints.



In December of this year though, we had an unexpected setback. Our Epson 4900 printer, which we had only for two and a half years, died. As many of our readers know, we have been having off and on problems with the printer for years. The biggest problem being constant ink jams blocking the heads. We had learned to live with the problem and were completely blown away when the printer went bust on us. Being able to make our own prints had been such a huge cost savings for us - but the outlay was definitely a big one and we were now looking forward to a $2000 LOSS right before the show.

I had a choice now to make - buy a NEW Epson 4900, have my old one repaired (at apparently about the cost of a new one), buy a different printer or just completely outsource my prints to a third party. I seriously debated the last option because I was so upset with my experience with the 4900. Given that the print head on the 4900 is the same as the Epson 7900, I figured that the problems would more than likely be similar. However, after doing a ton of internet research on the Epson and its rather well known ink jam issues, I now believe that SOME of the problems were related to the environment the printer was kept in. For folks who have read about my Epson 4900 problems in the past, I really do apologize. I also don't mean to keep dragging this issue up, but I am still feeling quite burned and feel that no product this expensive should be quite so temperamental.





I did a bunch of soul searching, as well as bank account checking, and decided to make a rather irrational decision. I went and bought an Epson 7900. The 7900 was about $3,000 more than the Epson 4900 (more by the time you include all of the ink). I decided that I enjoy the control of seeing the prints immediately too much. Also, the cost of the larger prints are exponentially smaller than if I had to outsource them, meaning that I can sell them for less than my competitors and make a decent profit. For example, my printer is selling a 20x30 canvas for about $130 per print. I can make it for about a quarter of that cost. Admittedly, I have to stretch all of the canvases on my own, which does increase the amount of time spent, but I do not find it arduous. Usually, I sit and staple while watching an episode of Star Trek. :P Also, I am quite aware that it will take a ton of large prints to match the initial outlay.

I plan on writing a review of the Epson 7900 in the next few weeks. As of this writing, I have had it over 2 months and finally did my first cleaning last night, after not having printed in a couple of weeks. To say that I am pleased with the Epson 7900 would be an understatement. I am still buying the warranty, but at least I don't feel like a gun is being put to my head. The ability to print 24 inches wide is a HUGE advantage over the Epson 4900, which I think is just an inch too narrow for doing good 16 inch canvas prints.



I have done everything else I can to keep keep costs down and was hoping that this year's show would be enough to make a big dent in the upfront cost of the printer. I knew that it would be a tall order, but I fortunately had the cash on hand and I while I am known to be a bit of a bit of a skinflint, I believe in making good purchases. So, I called my friends at Hunts and asked if they would price match the cost I was finding at other BBB companies, which they did (Thanks, Gary). I had the printer about two weeks later - and just in time to produce a bunch of 16x20s for the show.




The display this year was absolutely beautiful. The Green Room had lost all of its curtain and piping and I got called on at the last minute to fill the space with pictures of dogs. I printed fifteen 16x20 inch prints to fill the various elevator bays as well as the primary section of the Green Room. You could not move in either the Green Room itself or where I am located without seeing a ton of my prints. It felt really - really - good.



So how did we do you ask? Well, really awesome by most metrics. Outside of dropping one of my mono lights on the floor, the show went off more or less flawlessly. This is, in large part, due to the great help my wife and sister provide me. This year, we photographed about 60 dogs, including 23 on the Sunday before the show. A new record. I was so busy that I did not know what to do. The problem that occurred is that I could not sell to clients who wanted my input on which images to buy. I have been working diligently to remedy that since the show ended.

Last week, I fully processed all of my orders from the dog show and I am now focused on trying to accommodate new people who would like photos. As I send out the small prints (as it is not economical for me to produce the small prints at home), I cannot wait to see them before I ship them off to my clients.



Are there things that did not work? Absolutely. I am finding that a bunch of my clients are ordering small prints then scanning them and sending them out to the various magazines and for other personal uses. It blew me away when I realized how much of a theft problem we have, and honestly it really disappointed me. I realize that in some cases this is done out of ignorance, but in other cases it is just because people don't value other people's time and efforts and do not care as long as they are not the ones who have to pay the bill.



The unfortunate result is that this means that I need to re-examine my pricing next year on the small prints and whether or not to even offer them at all. I have debated moving to just the more deluxe prints (canvas, glass, metal, etc) as well as offering the files for people to purchase. I would HATE to have to do this, but I think I may have to. There is a lot to think about. Fortunately, I do not do many shows so I have time to mull this over and make the best decision I possibly can.

The long and the short of it is that it was a really successful show. I had a great time and I look forward to 2015.





_________________________
Manhattan, New York, NY Pet Photographer


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#40306 - 03/13/14 04:22 AM Re: Westminster Dog Show 2014 [Re: James Morrissey]
James Morrissey Offline
I
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/05
Loc: Manhattan, New York, New York
Just a friendly reminder that this article is copyrighted 2014, James Morrissey and the Nature, Wildlife and Pet Photography Forum. The images are the property of James Morrissey and may not be used without this writer's explicit written permission.

Thanks
James
_________________________
Manhattan, New York, NY Pet Photographer


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