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About that Amazon thing...

JonLloydJonLloyd Member
edited May 2014 in technique & style & stuff
About that Amazon thing…

So my story goes a little something like this…

Back in 2004 I spent 6 months back in the UK with my now wife. She wanted to get some decent photos done of ‘us’ and we ended up at a particular studio for which there are many franchisees spread across the UK called Venture. Those of you in the UK will know them well.


At the time their trademark was high key – white box stuff with bold vivid colours. It had me hooked in and thinking (as I often do) “I can do that”. At the time my camera was a Canon Ixus Digital Compact thing (I still have it) at 2.1mp. It cost me $1,200 in 2002 and came with an 8mb (yes ‘eight’) memory card which I supplemented with a 64mb card. Obviously a camera way off the mark for this stuff.

I recall asking the young girl actually doing the shoot how they got the ‘white so white’ and the colours so good and she sketched me a diagram for “curves” in Photoshop which at that point I had never used. I was actually dabbling with trial version Paintshop Pro back then but the principle was repeatable.

Within a few weeks I had acquired a Nikon D70 with an 18-70mm Kit lens and a whopping 1gb memory card and a whole swag of enthusiasm. I couldn't do much as I was in the UK living out of a suitcase, so when I returned to Australia in January 2005 my journey began.

My wife moved to Oz and we bought a house big enough for me to use one of the rooms as a small studio. I had a seamless white background and a white floor and by now a few customers who seemed to like what I was doing. Back then the emphasis was on prints and frames.

Still gainfully employed full time elsewhere it was a good supplementary income and I had visions of the business growing and a yearning for a larger studio space. I had the scope to do location stuff too as I had two Bowens lighting kits and a battery.

Desperate to find out more about photography I went to a couple of classes and learned heaps – it’s was only then that the exposure “light bulb” or “aha” moment happened too. Prior to that I had been simply centering the needle. The settings for high key gelled as well and that is what pushed that side of things.

About the eBook… I was searching for anything to do with ‘high key’ and stumbled on a web site of a woman who sold children’s clothes on eBay – but as an aside whe blogged about photography and in particular how she shot the kids modelling the clothes, so much so that she wrote an eBook about it …which I bought, from memory about US$20.00

What an utter disappointment that was! It was an 11 Page Word document with limited information on stiff I already knew. In fact it made me realise just how much I did know on the subject.

In the space of about a week I had written my own eBook and started selling it on eBay at half the price with twice the information. I (somewhat aggrieved) made the woman aware of my eBook and offered to send her one for free.

This is where the similarity to the Amazon patent kicks in… she accused me of ripping off her book! She had implied that she had the technique covered in print and that it was hers! The fact that I had used NONE of her material, all my own images and pictures of my studio and my diagram! The only similarity was the photographic style!

You can download that book here FREE! (hehe):


It was not a labor of love by any stretch. It was a retaliatory exercise that got me a few extra bucks back then and a sense of achievement and recognition of my understanding. Therapeutic. The topic is still relevant but the links and references cannot be guaranteed and if anything are probably long gone (circa 2006).

But the vision of a mega-studio withered as life took over. I very nearly invested in a similar franchise chain here in Oz call Viva! However, the camera even collected dust.

Eventually in December 2011 I sold the D70 and bought a Canon 7D. Now I’m hooked once more and have a good kit list including a 5D MkIII and hungrier than ever to the point where one day photography may became my fallback or early retirement option (I’m 49)!

I now shoot Sport – predominantly Mountain Biking as that is close to my heart and also ‘now’ Weddings! I try and blog as much as I can – even with few followers, but come the day… I have history!




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