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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.

What have we done...

atkins final front signage The past 20 years has seen the rise of a new paradigm in photography. This shift to a world of mostly digital data has not been good for the photo lab industry, nor has it been good for professional photographers. Since the mid 1990s we have been wrestling with these changes, and riding a decline in our business, but only addressing it in a superficial way.

In 2013 we took a deep introspective look at where we were with help from a business review from a Federal Government agency charged with assisting small to medium sized manufacturers. Pleasingly so, we passed all of their requirements and was rated as a business with potential. Which when your world is mostly filled with unsatifying financial reports and huddling inside your industry, was a great lift emotionally. We do love what we do, and believe in it, and to have outsiders recognise this was a relief.

Out of this review, we were invited to attend a "customer led innovation" six month long course where the deep naval gazing happened. It was here, under the guidance of Professor Sam Buccolo that we dug down to realise at the core, we run this business because we believe in the power of photographic record. We are in this because we love the photography that marks our world, and we want to help others who feel the same. We run this business for pictures that matter.

We want to connect people with photographers who can capture those critical subjects or moments, we want to help people identify those important pictures from peoples' own collection, we want to help print them to suit their purpose, we want to help people personally archive their pictures for generations.

So what did we do? We built a show room where we demonstrate photographs being used in different places as decor, we have built a room to design albums and collections to tell stories, we have archival storage systems for both digital data and prints. We have build a meeting place for our professional clients where they can come and be inspired and inspire us. We have put our photographic history front and centre in many ways, we are trumpeting as loudly as we can why we are in business, because we believe we are not alone in this affair. People value their own sense of history, and photography is the best way to record it.

The new website is under construction, new pricing is coming to suit the new products and packages. We are making albums on site, we are personalising USB flash drives on site, essentially we are fitting our products and systems around our customers.

So much is happening and there's more to come. We are in this industry for the long term, we love it, we live it and we want to help others, professionals or passionates (or both).

The opening this week was just stage one of our changes. We hope you will talk with us, tell us what you think, what you like, what you need, and come along with us on our journey. Our business,  is about so much more than earning a dollar and we want to build something really strong for our future and yours.

Atkins front signage pro end

Atkins front signage

Atkins Pro shop

Atkins Pro shop

Atkins Retail Shop

Atkins Retail Shop

Atkins staff uniforms

From your Phone Wall

Wedding and From your Phone wall

Party at Atkins!

Atkins Party You are invited to a special event at Atkins, we will be unveiling the next step in our 78 year history.

We hope you will come along to help us celebrate the start of something beautiful and the honouring of our past.

Our launch season theme is Summer, thongs, shorts and summery dresses are welcome.

Thursday October 23rd 7pm 89 Fullarton Road, Kent Town, SA 08 8431 6755

To book, click here:


Port Noarlunga Expo
2013 Expo

Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th of October the arts centre at Gawler St, Port Noarlunga is once again the venue for the Annual Photography Expo.

Last year was a great success, and 2014 promises to be no exception. This is your opportunity to meet the professionals in retail and photographic services, and to view the stunning images on display, including black and white fine art prints, portraiture, underwater photography, digital art, and wonderful scenes from Australia and beyond, all by South Australian photographers.

Special emphasis this year will be on providing a forum for visitors to listen, watch, and learn, and in some instances gain hands on experience.

Entry is free, with ample parking and light refreshments available, with easy access for the elderly or disabled. It offers you an excellent opportunity to hone your skills and to enjoy your camera!

Where: Arts centre at Gawler St, Port Noarlunga When: Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th of October Cost: Free
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Change to our Payment Terms and Conditions

As a part of the ongoing restructuring Atkins, we have decided to move to prepayment of jobs where possible. The decision was based on these two problems faced when running a small custom manufacturing facility, or professional photo lab.

  1. A percentage of orders are not being picked up.
  2. We cannot resell the materials used.

We do offer a money back guarantee, and a long trading history indicating we please our clients.

One of the unexpected benefits of this move has been the clarification of the orders before production begins. We deal with a lot of complex orders, often resulting in phone calls along the way, because payment is now brought forward, these questions are being sorted immediately.

In some circumstances, where work cannot be costed up front, we will ask for a deposit before commencing the order.

If you wish to look at our Terms and Conditions, follow this link.

You will notice more changing over this next year, one of the key tweaks will be the separation of our 'professional' or ABN registered clients. If you are a professional photographer, and have are a registered ABN holder, please let us know but filling out the form at this link.

Keep an eye out for these changes and let us know if there is anything we can do to serve you better.

Hidden places, hidden lives

A thought-provoking photographic narrative reflecting the experiences of people living in Adelaide’s Supported Residential Facilities. This collection of photographs is a collaborative project, created by residents mentored by four well-known local photographers, who have built up the confidence and enhanced the photographic skills of residents. The exhibition explores inclusion and citizenship of this generally unknown community.

Join us for the complementary community forum.

A SALA Festival event, co-presented with Seniors Information Service

Where: The Hawke Centre's Kerry Packer Civic Gallery is open 9am-5pm weekdays, Hawke Building Level 3, UniSA City West campus, 55 North Terrace, Adelaide. When: 28 July - 27 August 2014

SALA festival Tours and Talks

Make the most out of your SALA experience by joining one of the walking, cycling, or bus tours happening across the state, or by joining South Australian artists in a day of discussion and debate about the state of visual arts in SA now and in the future.

Read about the tour program here and forum day here.

CBD tours
Bring the baby art tour
North Terrace Cultural Precinct art tour
Open Studio Walking Tour
Chocol-ART Walking Tour
Bi-lingual Chinese art tours
ART AFTER DARK West End walking tour (no bookings required)
Adelaide Botanic Garden Botanic Art Walking tours (no bookings required)

Regional Art Bus Tours
Palmer Sculpture Landscape in the Murrylands
Day trip to Loxton for Arts on Terrace Day 
Barossa Valley Art Trail 
McLaren Vale Art and Wine 

The Artist's Voice Forum Day
Pursuing the Muse, artists reflect on the development of core concepts in their work  
Curators and artists, two parts of the whole?
How to make your own art opportunities and make the most of them – DIY 
Practice and endurance, how artists work

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.

A Rare opportunity

AIPP SAPPA graphic If you love photography and are wanting to learn more, the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) are holding their state print awards.

Correctly titled the Epson SA AIPP Epson Professional Photography Awards or SAPPAs, this annual event is open to the public to see great South Australian and Northern Territiry photography judged.

The photographs are judged as prints in categories, one at a time over two days by a rotating panel of five judges. The work is presented in a darkened room with only the print illuminated to draw the attention of the room. The judges each score the print between 50 and 100. Any variation by a single judge from the average of more than 10 points requires discussion and rescoring. The room often becomes tense as a judge fights for something they see in a photograph that other judges do not see.

The categories that are judged are; Illustrative, Landscape, Travel, Documentary, Commercial, Wedding, Family, Portrait

The timing of each category can vary, but the judging needs to be over in two days. So some times it runs late.

The judging panels are always a mixture of highly awarded and or experienced local and interstate photographers, to provide an unbiased team. The entries are generally kept under wraps to ensure judges have not seen the work, the work is also presented anonymously and it must have been created in the past 2 years. It is difficult objectively judging a subjective thing, but this system is internationally recognised as the standard.

The result of the judging is category winners, for example the Wedding Photographer of the Year and from that an over all Epson SA Professional Photographer of the Year 2014.

So why miss this free event.....?

Link to SAPPA website, click here.

Cost: Free Where: Marden Senior College, Marden Rd, Marden SA (off Payneham Rd), click here for a map of the facitiltes at Marden. When: Sunday June 29th to Monday June 30th If you cannot a make it and wish to see the judging it will be live streamed, follow this link to the stream.

Expected category timing see the graphic below:

AIPP SAPPA 2014 judging schedule

Importance of projects.

Bill-Gekas-Field Day If you are reading this, I assume you enjoy photography, and their is no greater use for photography than to tell a story.

Sometimes we need to set ourselves a photographic project to give us respite from the grind of our jobs. Sometimes we don't know what to do next, and just need to embark on some kind of journey.

The journey that a project can take you on is always rewarding. Here is a great project that attempts to emulate the light and image style of old master paintings. The photographer has gained an amazing understanding of light and how to apply it to great effect. This is a true learning experience.

The photographic world is better for these having been attempted.

Melbourne photographer Bill Gekas has spent many years emulating the work of old masters and has produced an unrivalled, multi award winning body of work that takes your breath away.

Enjoy these and be inspired.

Paul Atkins

Link to Bill Gekas' gallery

Film Challenge exhibition open

Film Challenge ExhibtionThose brave and hip photographers that took up our film challenge have been waiting patiently for us to produce the exhibition of their work from the Summer School workshop. We are in the home straight and Friday afternoon, 5pm we will have an informal opening of this interesting show. All are welcome Friday the 30th at 5pm, the exhibition will hang for the month of June.

Heartfelt changes

Heartfelt_Logo Over the past three years we have proudly provided printing to Heartfelt at material cost only. With the growing success by Heartfelt at reaching more hospitals and parents with their wonderful service, the pressure on Atkins has been growing.

We had hoped that we may be able to sustain the gift of our labour to the families, but this growth has impacted the production significantly and we have had to charge for cost for our staff time as well as production materials.

Heartfelt is still of critical interest to Atkins, and this decision was not made lightly, but continuing success of the service must be in the forefront.

Link to Heartfelt.

Do you want Atkins to promote your event?

We have a good rapport with our audience and love to promote photographic related exhibition and events. To make this happen efficiently and prevent errors and retyping, we have an online form you can fill out that will enable us to fit your news in with our communications:

Here are the steps :

  1. Follow this link
  2. Enter the username (Event) and password (promoteme)
  3. Near the top on the left is a button that says ‘add files’, click on that
  4. Choose your JPEG/PNG ‘hero’ or ‘invite’ image for the exhibition
  5. Fill out the form
  6. Start Uploading

We will then format the information and include it where we can in our communications. Remember, it will still need our approval. If it is rejected we will get back to you.

PITCHER This at Shimmer

shimmer_photography_festivalHave you got a photography based project and need some cash?  This may just be the opportunity you are looking for! PITCHER This is a live crowd-funded event open to all artists with a project or idea that is photography based.

PITCHER This rules:

Artists and photographers who wish to be considered for selection to present at PITCHER This must submit

  1. a concise one page description of the project or idea that they wish to present including their name, contact telephone number and email address
  2. The pitched project may be for professional development, printing and framing costs, other exhibition costs such as equipment hire, studio time etc or travel costs associated with a particular project
  3. Only visual artists working in photography and photographers are eligible
  4. Each pitcher will have 5 minutes to present.  Data projector, laptop and public address system available

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: 5pm Monday 21 July 2014

On the PITCHER This presentation night: An audience of up to 200 pays $10.00 per ticket 10 pre-selected artists pitch their project to the audience The project/artist with the most votes wins the amount of money made at the door through ticket sales
Do you want to be involved?  Download the photographers brief below  and contact The Arts Centre on 8326 5577 with any questions.
Atkins Artists - call for submissions

Logo We have been invited to exhibit at this year's Shimmer Festival in Adelaide's southern vales. Shimmer will run from Friday 29 August to Sunday 28 September 2014.

Shimmer runs parallel to SALA but is a biennial celebration of the many professionally established, internationally acclaimed, emerging and aspirational photographers in Australia.

Shimmer is the only photography festival in South Australia and the City of Onkaparinga is leading the way in supporting and showcasing local talent and attracting the best artists to our community. Shimmer provides professional skill development opportunities to local artists as well as a culturally enriching experience for our whole community.

More than 30 local galleries, wineries, cafes and restaurants involved in exhibiting during Shimmer, the entire area get behind this great festival.

If you want to know more about Shimmer, click here.

What is in it for you?

During the months of April and May 2014, we are asking for submissions from our community to participate in this project. This year's exhibition will be curated by us based on the theme "Light". There is limited space, and entries will be considered on their artistic merit and fit with the theme and other submissions. We feel a single entry per person will work the best, but if you have others you wish us to consider, please let us know.

Submissions close May 31st 214.

Cost of your participation:

Price of your print(s) and framing at Atkins based on the space available (possibly at this stage a square meter per participant). You can choose any presentation method and paper options, but it will need to go in one of our white frames, using any of the five moulding shapes.

Plus $160 payable with the print order. This covers the gallery fee, design and print of promotional material, website for exhibition and design of book that will be for sale that will represent you and the exhibition (if you wish to purchase the book, it will be available at cost to you).

The gallery will take a 35% commission.

How to make a submission.

If you wish to be a part of the exhibition, please submit a single jpeg image, at least 900 pixels on the longest dimension for our review. Please also include your artist statement for the piece. Please email the photograph and the artist statement to

Join us in helping Shimmer shine.

We had great success with our DARK exhibition that we took to the Ballarat Biennale, the participants had a great time and we helped put Adelaide photographers amongst the best in Australia. DARK ended up returning to Adelaide and featuring at the Adelaide Town Hall for a second run.

Concrete, Space, Light is open.

Concrete, Space, LightAtkins are very excited to see the realisation of this exhibition. We  have been watching the development of this genre here in Adelaide, and especially the exposition of the things us Adelaideians see and take for granted every day. The exhibition opens this Friday, March 21st. Mark Zed, Peter Barnes, Wayne Grivell, Benjamin Liew, and Gary Sauer-Thompson. These five Adelaide photographers get together to show us familiar but newly-seen architecture, inconsequential alleyways, as well as major buildings that are now making their way into Adelaide’s visual imagination.

The Light Gallery at the Centre for Creative Photography, 138 RIchmond Road, Marleston. 21 March to 25 April 2014

Opening night: Friday 21 March, 6–8pm. To be opened by Tim Horton, CEO of the Committee for Adelaide.