Category Archives: FrozenEvent news

Dance Photography All The Way

I’ve decided to refocus Frozen Event on latin and ballroom dancing

When I started Frozen Event, I had a vision in mind. To build an easy way for photographers at a dance competition to sell their photos after the comp. I’ve been to many comps as a photographer, and to many more as a dancer. I realised two things: As a photographer it’s really tough to show dancers the photos, while offering a high quality way of selling the images, and as a dancer I’m always annoying not being able to find any photos. Frozen Event grew out of this frustration, and was am attempt to close this gap between photographers and dancers.

I figured that if this is a problem with dance competitions, it must be a problem with many other sorts of events. What I found though was that despite success with a few other types of events (like remote control car racing), dance competition were by far the biggest success story of Frozen Event.

So I have now decided to explicitly focus on my roots. From now on Frozen Event will be purely for dance photographers and dancers. My goal is to make Frozen Event the number one site competition photos.

Please help me out and show your support by heading over to the Frozen Event Facebook Page and liking it. Thanks

The new Frozen Event watermark

One of the things that was rushed in getting Frozen Event up and running was the watermarks on the photos. While it was important to have something on the photos to prevent anyone from grabbing a photo and doing what they want with it, not much thought went in to how to do it.

The first version of the watermark was so unpopular with photographers that I very quickly made the call not only to change it, but to go back and change all the existing photos. So I don’t even have an example I can show you. What I can show you is the second version of the watermark, which looks like this:

(The first version was basically the same, but with twice the number of lines)

This did the job, but thats about all I can say for it.

I recently took at look at what Getty Images have done with the Getty Watermark, and was inspired (also check out this short video).

What I really like about their watermark is the thought that’s gone into the intent. They really know what they want their watermark to achieve. So I sat down, and worked out a list for what a Frozen Event watermark should do. I even worked out the ordering of my priorities:

  1. It should look “good”, in order to present a quality, professional feel
  2. It should help the photographer build a reputation (or personal brand)
  3. It should make sure viewers are aware they are supposed to pay for the photo
  4. It should make it easy to buy the photo
  5. It should identify the event the photo came from
  6. It should promote Frozen Event as a brand

Yes, I’m explicitly putting Frozen Event branding at the bottom of the list, and the photographer’s branding at the top (well, second). Frozen Event is all about helping photographer’s establish and build a name for themselves. That is the most important thing we do, so it goes as close to the top of the list as possible.

Making sure that viewers know they are supposed to buy a photo is a bit of an experiment. We don’t have many problems (at least right now) with image theft, and when we do, it tends to take the form of someone putting the photo (with the watermarks) as their Facebook profile picture. I don’t think anyone is going to do that if they know that the watermark is telling all their friends they stole the photo. I think this is a matter of education, rather than intent.

Identifying the event is tied in with another new feature I’m working on, which is grouping a collection of albums, potentially by different photographers. That’s in partial testing now, but not released yet.

So I sat down and started to work on a new design of watermark. One that would meet all of the criteria above. At the same time I decided to make the images a bit larger. If my assumption is that people are not intending to steal the photos, there is no harm it making them just a bit bigger than a postage stamp. This is what I came up with:

This then, is the new Frozen Event watermark. I expect it will change in small subtle ways over the coming months, but its launching today. Enjoy

UPDATE

A couple of photographers already contacted me concerned that the wording “legal copy” was too strong. I have since changed the wording to “To use this photo please buy a copy”

Sell photos in US Dollars, UK Pounds, and Euros

Dollars
Photo Credit: 401K

One of the great things about running a beta test for an online service, like FrozenEvent is the chance to get user Feedback. In my first push for users I reached out and made contact with quite a lot of people interested in FrozenEvent, and started a conversation with them. It soon became clear that one feature was in demand so much, that requests for it were swamping all other requests.

That feature is to do with the fact that you guys are all over the place. I mean geographically. Selling photos in UK Pounds is great for those of you who are based in the UK, but terrible for the rest of you. By far my number one request was to sell photos in US Dollars, and the number two request, was to be able to sell them in Euros.

So I set to to work getting that feature added into the code. It was a little bit harder than I would have liked, but now its working, and has been tested, and so the good news, is that as of now, you can choose to sell photos in UK Pounds, US Dollars or Euros.

So if you have been waiting for multiple currencies to sign up, now is a great time to go ahead and start selling photos.

It’s hard to explain what your startup does.

I’m surprised to discover how hard it is to explain what Frozen Event does.

I find it hard to get past my limiting belief that the idea behind Frozen Event is is not only brilliant, but obvious too. Yet when I ask my friends (who have been listening to me for months) what Frozen Event is, they think it’s something different to what I think it is. This was driven home to me recently when I sat down with a few close friends to try and work out how I can communicate the core idea better. After an hour of deep discussion, it turned out each of them heard a different thing.

A few days later I sat down with one of them, and after two hours of discussion, diagrams, lists, and pure mental effort from both of us we finally reached a point where we both had the same understanding of what Frozen Event does.

When a potential new photographer visits my home page I suspect I get about 10-15 seconds before they decide if they are going to sign up or move on. Given that two or three hours is my benchmark for explaining my idea, I’m sure most people don’t get the right idea.

How can I get the message clearer? What specific activities can I do that will improve my ability to explain the core idea?

So far I have tried a few things with various levels of success:

  • Spending hours talking to friends, family, and anyone-who-will-listen. I explain what Frozen Event does, and carefully listen to them as I go. Trying to figure out where their understanding differs from mine. This is time consuming, and emotionally expensive, but provides lots of insight.
  • Writing out a summary of WHY Frozen Event exists , and what problem it is trying to solve (in line with this TED talk). Sending this out on Twitter resulted in many questions along the line of “but HOW does it solve these problems”. This seems to get people interested, though it leads to more work, as I now need to create a clear explanation for how I solve these problems.
  • Testing various different simplified explanations when talking to people. The one that gets the most traction in peoples minds is “Frozen Event uses Facebook to connect a photographer with people they have already taken photos of, and so sell more photos“. This is such an over simplification that it makes me cringe, but maybe I have to simplify it that much to get any communication started.

What I’m moving towards is a redesign of the Home page. The major success criteria for the new home page is going to be to communicate as fast as possible what Frozen Event does. I suspect that an explainer video is going to be involved, meaning my next step is going to be to write a script.

Have you had problems explaining your startup idea to people, or do you have a suggestions for how I can explain Frozen Event better? If so let me know in the comments below.

 

Beta Testing Begins

Just in time for the new year Frozen Event has just switched from alpha testing to beta testing. This is a really big thing for me, as I have spent the last few months working hard trying to get everything in place, and so I’m kinda excited. I have been pretty quiet for the last few months, but a lot has been happening, most of it pretty boring! I have been getting the company set up (in a legal sense, registering with companies house, getting the accounting in place, registering with the tax man and so on), running more alpha tests on what works and what doesn’t, and getting some legal stuff in place, meaning I now have terms and conditions, and a privacy policy up on the website. All very boring (both for you and especially for me). That is why I’m so excited by the stuff that’s coming up soon, because it’s way more interesting.

I just deployed the latest update to the website, which officially marks the transition from the Alpha version of Frozen Event to the Beta. I have to say the Alpha was a resounding success. Firstly, and most importantly it flushed out a few bugs, that have now been fixed. Secondly it was a resounding success in terms of proving the business model. In fact I have made an operational profit each and every month since I registered the company! For a long time I have been telling my friends that a good idea should be able to be profitable very quickly, so the fact that I can now stand by my words is making me smile from ear to ear! To be honest, I haven’t exactly made much profit (and then all of it and more got invested in building some more infrastructure) but still its left me with a stupid grin on my face. The best bit by far was having Christmas drinks with the London based photographers who were taking part of the alpha tests, and being able to hand them over quite nice chunky cheques. That was very awesome! I have more cheques to write out to them just as soon as the month ends as well.

So now I can start to look forward to the Beta Test. There is room for a load more photographers, and I am going to be slowly rolling out a load of new features on the website. I’m not going to tell you about the new features just yet – but I sure you will find them as cool as I do. So head on over to the beta test page, and help me get started.

Photo viewing stats – What do photographers need to know?

So I’m sitting here, with the source code for Frozen Event in front of me. I have managed to set aside some time to do some programming for the first time in a while. I’m working on creating a better interface for you photographers. The current one sucks pretty badly. The only way to upload photos is to ship them to me, typically on a USB key, and they only way to know if you have sold any photos is to ping me on MSN or Facebook and ask me.

The first couple of things are pretty obvious. You want to upload your photos yourself, you want to know if you have sold any photos, which photos, and how much money you are going to be getting. Fine I can do that. I think there is more that is useful to know though…

As a photographer, I want to know something about my collection of photos that will help me. I want to know what photos are getting looked at most, how often, and other similar things like that. There is an issue though. There is a lot of data I can dig out of my database (whenever someone looks at a photo or an event I am tracking when they looked at it – and where they came from). I can work out trends, what photos are popular now compared to last week, last month, even last year (once I have that much data). Some of this data I can get easily, and some of it takes a bit more work. Work for me in creating the code, and then work for the server every time it has to compute it. Some of this data is actually useful, and some of it is fun to look at, but ultimately not very useful.

So the question that is going to be in my mind for the next few days is going to be what data is useful. What do photographers find useful. What data can tell them what they are doing right, and what is not working for them. If you have any thoughts please let me know

Welcome to Frozen Event

Welcome!

Event photography sucks. Well, not totally, but it could be a lot better. I got fed up of never having great photos of myself when I go to events. I also got fed up of taking great photos at events, that most people never get to see.

So I got to thinking, there has to be a better way. I have several ideas for better ways to do event photography, and I think you will agree with a lot of them. So stick with me, while I build my blog, and the rest of Frozen Event, its going to be quite a ride