Posts in Tips and tricks
Atkins Shoot Tool - a photographers' tool

Atkins has developed it's own software; Shoot Tool, to assist photographers in taking orders at events and organising naming on group photos. The software runs on an iPad, and can customised for each application.

The software has been used successfully in these situations:

  • School photography
  • Santa photos
  • Photo Booths at conferences

Shoot Tool will save you hours of post processing and entering of orders. We customise the application for your need including your branding, the packages you want printed etc. The workflow might look like this:

The software is used to organise the order of people in group photos and siblings and individuals and manage the orders made for photos and communicate that and the chosen images to production. The software will produce a the group photo layouts with logos etc allowing for customised pre-arranged designs. It runs on the midsized iPad which you’d need to supply.

The forward was developed by Paul Atkins and it continually being updated. Paul is not a professional software developer, but it has been used for many years now by several photographers successfully in small to midsize schools and teams and recently, a large private school has been photographed using it running in four separate shoot booths and four ipads.

The intention of the design is to make the back end mess of group photography easy for operators.

This is the workflow roughly explained:

  1. The photographer and Atkins agree on packages and designs of layouts and pricing etc.
  2. Each group/team/school may need new designs. that is fine, we have a new layout fee.
  3. Within a few days of the shoot you provide us with a spreadsheet formatted with the relevant data in the columns we need them in. The accuracy of the data is pretty critical, it can be edited after, but clean in is clean out.
  4. We provide the data file back in the software
  5. You enter orders pre or post shoot
  6. You sync the software counter with your camera counter.
  7. You use the application by finding the particular group in the software, set up the group of people in front of you to look visually appealing, then either before you shoot, or using an assistant during the shoot or using a jpeg after the shoot you tap on the names that go in back middle and front row (or whatever) to set the order.
  8. You tap on the counter button to record as you go how many frames were taken on each set up.
  9. During the day you can edit the data if needed, take notes etc
  10. Post shoot you choose the jpegs using whatever software you use.
  11. You use our software to mark which jpeg number is the chosen one for whatever photo. This is a critical step, jpeg number must match in software to jpeg files for it all to work.
  12. You make any changes to the data/orders/whatever
  13. You hit the transmit button in the software, you then also send in the jpegs via ftp/dropbox/whatever
  14. We put the data on a server for you to continue tweaking as needed remotely, and when you are content it is all as accurate as possible, you let us know.
  15. We sync it all up, do final colour corrections, send group proofs as jpegs for checking
  16. With the ok, we print the orders as agreed
  17. Pack to whatever level you wish us to, from individual bags with labels per order to piles of photos in order (with back printing), or even post directly to the end client.
  18. Rinse and repeat.

Shoot Tool is free for events where the more than $500 worth of prints will be printed from the event. For smaller events, an fee will be apply.

To enquire, click here.

Canon AIPP APPA awards on now!

judging-scheduleThe AIPP's national professional photography awards are up and running here in Sydney. If you have an interest in learning more about photography, this is an excellent opportunity. The judging process is very interesting, it involves five specialist photographers putting a score form 50 to 100, the average becomes the score. Any judge(s) that vary 5 points or more from the average get the opportunity to challenge the score. A variation of more than 10 is an automatic challenge.

The challenges are where the magic happens, so take the time over the next three days to immerse yourself in some of the best photography in Australia.

If you cannot be in Sydney for the event, it is being Live Streamed at the link below:

There are four judging rooms, so take your pick, check out the schedule here to determine what you want to watch!


Business buy in

Build-A-Bear children Having young children means toy stores become a tricky place. On our recent trip to the USA, we crashed and burned at a over-populated Disney Land, and found ourselves wandering the forecourt of Disney at the attached mall.

The girls were really let down by their Disney experience and were hunting for something good... After dropping into several stores, we came to Build-A-Bear, a franchise that exists in Australia, and a potential to save the day.

Build-A-Bear is a place where you can make your own teddy bear. You pick a limp body from a huge range of characters, pick a scent and a sound then take it over to the a staff member and control the stuffing of it. The pièce de résistance is the accessories, there is a phenomenal range of clothing roller skates, toys, bags, and oh my god, everything. The key story here is your friend for life should be as individual as you are, so you create their character through the accessories.

Before the staff member clinically sews up the stuffed bear (it does make you squeamish), you are asked to perform a ritual with a tiny heart shaped pillow that becomes the bear's heart. The ritual is the key, it creates meaning out of the experience of buying, consuming.

In every Build-A-Bear here in Australia that I have visited (3 in total) it feels flat. Yes there are children buzzing around excitedly, but the staff aren't sticking to the script, they don't believe the hype. They stuff the bears, they work the heart into the process they tick the boxes, but there is no 'buy in', the staff don't believe the meaning behind the business, the why of the business.

So....some creative entrepreneur has looked carefully what children want, they undoubtedly have spent time and money researching their market. From the research they would have made a story of what happens when a customer engages with Build-A-Bear. The story would have been translated into a plan and policy, then it is time to execute.

If the idea is strong enough, and the management is behind it, the execution is easier... initially. Given time though, it is easy to slip in effort. The management, particularly those involved in day to day operation, must keep everyone 'on script'.

The difference we experienced between the Australian versions of Build-A-Bear and this one in the heart of Disney was fascinating. It was not a yawning gap on the face of it, but it was a totally different experience. The difference was staff 'buy in' to the deeper meaning of the brand, that these bears are your friends for life.

The staff at the Disney store brought the bears alive, they wove magic into the process, they had my girls enchanted when placing the bears heart. They shared the story and entwined my children into it. The bears were characters, friends, the staff loved the bears too, had opinions on the level of firmness of the stuffing depending on the activities or accessories planned. They spoke with conviction about the glory of the rainbow skirt for Pony Twilight Sparkle and how my youngest choice of a Pug was great and had she seen the skateboarding hoody?

The result was, we spent money. More than we had intended. More importantly we are now looking for other stores to visit, we are happily signed up to their email program, and we are part of the Build-A-Bear club, we bought in to the story, the why, of the business.

All because of superior execution, staff buy in and because the staff made it impossible not to jump on board, they weren't cynical, they believed in the company's deeper story and values. The staff were brand champions.

The lesson to us business owners who have such great creative ideas, we need to execute thoroughly, we need to build a script and stick to it for every customer, all the time. But more importantly, the deeper meaning behind our brand, our business, the real WHY of what we do, must be shared by our staff and expressed in all of our activities. If you want people to value what you do, to 'get' your business, you need to show them the heart of who you are and show them how that effects every aspect of their experience with you.

This becomes even more important when our ideas are clever and involved. When we are asking our clients to buy in to our vision, even more so. Most small businesses want for a deep long lasting connection to their clients, and if you can give your clients a strong sense of your brand's value, your business's 'why', you can ask them to join you on the journey and then, you have a winning formula.

Paul Atkins and Kate Burns.

Light on the Land Flinders Ranges workshop 2014

LightOnTheLandWorkshopsLight on the Land - Flinders Ranges workshop 2014 Lou Marafioti and Keith Seidel are pleased to advise you of the dates for the 2014 Light on the Land workshops, presented in partnership with the South Australian Photographic Federation (SAPF).

The 2014 Flinders Ranges workshop (details attached) is currently accepting registrations. The dates for this workshop, which has been extended from six to seven nights this year, are August 17-23. Your registration fee covers tuition, accommodation and meals.

Your payment of the required deposit will confirm your place in the workshop on a first come, first served basis until registrations are filled. Subject to demand a second workshop week in the Flinders may be offered at the discretion of the organisers.

Please use the attached registration form by return email to book your place in the Flinders Ranges for 2014.

Click here for the PDF brochure: Light on the Land Flinders 2014

Other workshop dates proposed are:

20 July Advanced Portraiture – glamour and character models (rural location)

3 August Advanced Portraiture – glamour and character models (metropolitan location)

27 December One-day workshop – portrait, seascape and learning how to “see” the photographs that are around you (coastal location).

Durability Vs light-fast

Last June, I visited the Rochester Institute of Technology's Image Permanence Institute (IPI). The visit was a part of Atkins' ongoing research into providing the most useful long-term prints.

Looking at long term usefulness is a good idea. After all, if we are not printing archivally, why are we printing at all? The supply of images that will vanish is well handled by folks leaving their photos in unstable digital storage!

So we want something that is light fast for 100 to 200 years. Agreed. Well what if when you touched it, the image is easilly damaged? What if the surface felt beautiful and textured, like water colour paper, but this made it absorb pollutants at a great rate?  How can we 'hand down' our prints without touching them?

It is a nasty conundrum that the most light fast, archival pigment ink printing, is also the most delicate.

But the fact is when it comes to pigment inkjet printing (Gicleé) it is less durable than wet process printing. Well processed, photographic silver-halide prints can survive relentless handling, heavily polluted atmospheres and even extensive flooding. It may only have an lightfast ceiling of 100 years, but it may be more likely to make 100 years.

So next time you are thinking about making a print, and you expect it to last. Think about how you are going to help it to last, storage, handling and display is equally as important as the choice of print type.

Paul Atkins

All the printing at Atkins is made on the best materials for their purpose, we purchase independently tested materials, we do  testing ourselves. We are in business for the long term, so you can hand down your prints to future generations.

Business Models notes - Summer School 2014

Value propositions....? Stuart Davis' Business Models session was well attended and set a challenge for attendees, perhaps too great a challenge for one morning.

Formally modelling your business and using these techniques to explore new business ideas is the best way to stretch out and grow your enterprise.

Stuart has provided these useful links to support his presentation:

Business Model Canvas –

Milkshake Story - Clayton Christensen -

Human Zoo (skip to 12mins) - Dr Carla Litchfield -

To download Stuart's presentation notes, click here.

Clipsal traffic.

To all those Adelaideans struggling to get around the Clipsal 500 circuit that is splitting our city in more ways than one: The traffic over here on the eastern side is fine, the big roundabout is now a T-junction, and traffic flows well after 9.30am and before 4pm, actually it is a breeze, easier than normal to access and park.

I think the bark of the Clipsal is worse than it's bite.

If you wish to use our car park over the weekend, please contact us and ask, we are offering parking at no cost, but you MUST ask us first.

Call on 08 8431 6755.

Workflow, from shoot through to archiving notes - Summer School 2014

Atkins_workflowseminar_0161The workflow session for digital photography was a pretty intense half day, and feedback from attendees has been very positive. So these notes will be valuable. They are the presenter's notes, and are essentially an 'outline' so you may have trouble deciphering some details, but you are welcome to email in for clarification. Click on the link to download the notes as a text file: ss2014-workflow-notes  

Social Media Shortcuts - Summer School 2014

Social Media IconsSocial media is a minefield for your attention. It can be extremely helpful for your professional life, and lots of fun for your personal life. How can you make it easier for yourself, how can you gain the attention for your services and still live in the 'real' world. This Friday the first session of the 2014 Atkins Summer School begins at 9.30am, 89 Fullarton Road Kent Town. Cost is $25. To book, click here.

For more information o the other four Summer School sessions, including Lightroom Basics, Digital Photographer Workflow, Photography Business Models and The Film Challenge, click here.

Summer School 2014 - Jan 24th to 31st

Atkins_workflowseminar_0161 We would love to see you at this year's Atkins Summer School, the topics are designed to help you enjoy your photography more, have fun and rethink your photographic business. All are welcome.

Cost to attend is $25 per session, payable when booking (we will call you after you register)

Register by clicking here.


**NEW** Social Media Shortcuts. Friday, January 24th, 9.30am - 12.30pm Is Social media the biggest time waster of the decade? What value is it adding? Are there any shortcuts? Paul Atkins will present his methods and those learned at workshops both here and in the USA over the past five years. Hopefully this will help you!

Adobe Lightroom Basics. Tuesday, January 28th, 9.30am – 12.30pm Lightroom 5.0 is the best tool for managing and lightly editing your digital image files. Paul Atkins has been using Lightroom since the first version and has brought many new users up to speed. The presentation will focus on the Library and Develop modules, but will touch on other modules and hidden features. Beginners and intermediate users will benefit from attending.

Workflow, from shoot through to archiving. Wednesday, January 29th, 9.30am – 12.30pm  What is "best practise"? What balances a image quality, data-safety and efficiency? Paul Atkins has been watching and interviewing professionals in the industry and has complied this presentation. Bring your questions and opinions, we can all learn from each other.

Photography Business Models Thursday, January 30th, 9.30am – 12.30pm. This workshop will help you fly above your photographic business, looking at it from a different perspective. Stuart Davis will be presenting this session. Stuart is from Enterprise Connect, he is a business specialist who has spent the last 4.5 years providing advice and assisting Creative Industries companies. This has included facilitating workshops in Design Integration and Business Modelling as well as conducting Business Reviews. He has also participated in a master class by the authors of Business Model Generation and used this methodology across the country. Enterprise Connect is a Federal Government initiative to re-engergize small to medium businesses in Australia. This will be worth every minute of your time, this is an opportunity to get help rethinking photography as a business.

For more information on what Stuart does:

The Film Challenge.... Friday, January 31st, 9.30am – 12.30pm with a return to the lab at 4pm for projection and discussion until 5pm In the immortal words of Harry Callaghan, "do you feel lucky punk?". However, this shouldn't be about luck, this is a test of your skills in a tricky environment: Mid summer, Adelaide, one roll of 35mm (not Xpan) or 120 (up to 6x9) tranny film, one morning to shoot. Midday we process and sleeve, 4pm meet back at Atkins to choose your best frame and a discussion of what everyone shot. From there the Atkins will scan and prepare prints with minimal editing and host and exhibition during the following month. We will gather votes over the month for an informal 'peoples choice award' Are you up to it...?

9.30am pick up film and have quick chat, then off to shoot. Return at 12.30pm for processing, return at 4pm to review results. The cost of entry includes the roll of film and processing.

Print it or lose it - Channel 9

A4 GRAN.epsNEWS_TEAM_BANNER2today_show_australiaWe are very excited that our article has triggered interest from Channel 9 in Adelaide and the Today Show nationally. The story will run tonight (Thursday 31st) from 6pm Adelaide time, and Friday morning, November 1st on the Today Show. The story is about the dangers of only storing your photos digitally (on a computer, hard drive, CD, DVD, SD card etc). Whilst digital archiving is cost effective, it currently is very short term.

Consider this, you may not care about your photos now, but when you are older and looking back on your life, they could be gone.

Digital storage cannot be trusted beyond 5-8 years, professionals recommend moving your digital storage onto the latest system every 5 years!

The other problem is that you need a computer to see those photos, where as prints…just turn on the light and open your eyes.

Here is Atkins' tips for preserving your memories:

  1. Be sure of what you are photographing, the more photos you take, the more you have to look after and the more you have to sort through to find those gems.
  2. Once you have taken the photos, download them to your computer and sort them, keep your favourites aside and change their name to reflect what you have taken. Back these favourites up in at least 3 places (hard drive/CD/DVD/Cloud)
  3. Print your favourites at a specialist printer such as AtkinsTechnicolour, avoid the big box stores; Harvey Normans, Office Works etc. Prints made unprofessionally may not last longer than 5 years.
  4. Make albums, books, frames and canvasses for the wall and gift even cards. Share your prints, they make great presents.
  5. Always try have the title on or on the back describing who is in the photo, where you were and when it was taken.

If you want further advice, or prints that will last for more than 100 years, contact Atkins on 08 8431 6755, or email:

If you want to read the full article, click here.

A big thanks to PMA and Fuji-film for the Print it or Lose it campaign.

@tkins online help

atlogobubbleOver the past three months we've be caught up in a war between those who program Java and Apple computers. Both companies are trying to improve their security and in the process it has been breaking the functionality of our ordering software. Our programmers (ROES) have been struggling to keep up. If our @tkins online software is not working for you we want to offer you a remote support session to fix the problems.

There are solutions to 99% of the problems.

We have current information on the fixes on our FAQ web page you can use to make the changes yourself, but we can also use screen sharing technology to operate your computer and make the changes with you. All you need to do is make an appointment with one of our technicians.

Meanwhile, there are three alternative ways to get orders into Atkins via the internet; email, FTP, and a cloud service such as. DropBox, YouSendIt, GoogleDrive, etc.

Request a support session.

Alternative to @tkins online.


We are very excited to announce a Podcast venture with DJPaine's Black Market Photo podcast network. DJ has started a weekly photo tech podcast (not yet in the iTunes store) called Q and A Photo with Paul Atkins. Each week we will answer questions from listeners relating to the technology of photography, pitched at professional photographers.

The first episode went live this week, you can listen to it at this link. This episode introduces the concept of the show.

DJ also featured John Atkins on his Black Market Photo show last year, you can listen to this episode here. DJ also interviewed Paul over two episodes this year, you can listen here.

What is a podcast? In this format, it is a audio recording of discussions and interviews, you can listen via the website, or download the file for listening to later or on your MP3 player. If you use Apple products, such as iPhone and iTunes, you can subscribe and each new episode will fall into your play list as it is published for free. Here is the link to BMP in the iTunes store. Q and A Photo with Paul Atkins is not in the iTunes store yet, but it will be shortly.