Have an idea for a photo product and an entrepreneurial itch? PDN published an article this past week with three stories of people who successfully turned their ideas into products (and businesses). One of them is the story of Gary Fong and his Lightsphere:
Gary Fong, the former wedding photographer-turned-entrepreneur whose name has become synonymous with lighting accessories, says he got the idea to make his first photographic product, the Lightsphere, while flipping through an in-flight magazine. “There was an ad that said something like, ‘We make plastic parts for your ideas.’” It started him thinking about what he would like to make. What he wanted, he thought, was a large light diffuser, modeled on a lampshade. “Until then, diffusers were tiny. They sat on top of your flash and they didn’t do anything to the shape of the light. All they did was block the light coming through your flash.” He noticed that when he photographed indoors, light filtered through lampshades—which create a hot spot on the ceiling while diffusing the light on faces—produced pretty skin tones. “I thought, okay, I’ll make a big lampshade for electronic flash.”
Fong’s advice to fellow inventors? “All you need is the customers. It’s got to be a product that customers will buy. If they buy some, you know grandma will be packing boxes for you. If they buy waves of them, you’ll have grandma supervising some temps who pack the boxes until you find a distribution company.”
Graphic designer Ksenia Podgornaya makes and sells these nifty Polaroid camera greeting cards that feature an original watercolor illustration printed on 100lb satin paper. Your message or drawing to a friend goes on a blank white “photo” that sticks out of the bottom. Each set comes with 5 cards and costs $4 over in Podgornaya’s Etsy store. You can also try your hand at making the card from scratch if you have some free time!
iPhone photography app Hipstamatic was the king of retro filters before Instagram came along and stole its crown. Now, the developers are hoping to capitalize on the retro photo app craze with a new idea: delivering a disposable camera experience on an iPhone. Pocket-lint reports,
Hipstamatic D-Series is set to bring back the film feel to your digital photography by preventing you from actually looking at your pictures the second after you’ve snapped them. Working like an old disposable camera, you have to finish all 24 shots before it’ll let you go back and review how they all came out. Sounds crazy to begin with but try not to think about coming almost full circle and it might just be crazy enough to work.
“It’s an opportunity to bring back the idea that you have this roll of film and you shoot with it, and you think about what you’re seeing in the moment, more so than snapping a photo and looking at it, deleting it or taking another one,” said Lucas Buick [founder of Hipstamatic]. [...] “It really is a completely different way to experience photography that a lot of people have forgotten about, but it wasn’t so long ago that people don’t remember it, and that’s the key.”
So basically, it’s an app that restricts its users — like an app that only lets people shoot in black and white. While it may sound like a lame idea to the general population, the market for this type of thing (e.g. hipsters) might just be big enough for it to attract a following. They do have one thing going for them though: the app will be free once its released later this month.
When clients Janet and Darrell asked Australian photographer Hailey Bartholomew for a creative engagement shoot earlier this year, she came up with the idea of having the couple wear oversized bear heads. Read more…
These Diana cameras were decorated and auctioned for Lomography’s Diana World Tour this year. If you regularly photograph young children, giving your camera a colorful costume can help make it a lot less intimidating (Camera Creatures work well too).
Here’s an amazingly cute idea for baby portraits: dress them up as adults while they’re sleeping. Photographer Handri Karya and ad agency Grey Group made these photographs as part of an ad campaign for Indonesian mattress company Comforta. Read more…
Update: Looks like the video was taken down due to a copyright claim. You can watch it here.
This is more related to filmmaking than photography, but it’s so creative that I just had to share: Gatorade recently released this 5 minute commercial featuring professional skateboarder Chaz Ortiz. What’s mind-blowing is that it captures the passing of a school day in one take. Any mistakes (e.g. Ortiz failing to land a trick) would have ruined the entire shot. You can find a behind-the-scenes video showing how it was made here.