Nik Software now offers educational discounts

Nik Software produces some pretty cool tools. Even better, they announced today that they are offering up to 50% off for students through a new educational pricing program. As the parent of a college student who also enjoys photography and all of the post production possibilities that shooting digital offers, I appreciate what they are doing.

Discounted pricing for Academic versions of Nik Software products are as follows:

  • Dfine 2.0 – $49.99
  • Viveza 2 – $99.99
  • Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete – $149.99
  • Silver Efex Pro – $99.99
  • Sharpener Pro 3.0 – $99.99
  • Complete Collection for Lightroom and Aperture – $149.99
  • Complete Collection Ultimate Edition for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture – $299.99

Free fully functional 15-day trial software, live online training, and over 80 training videos are available for all Nik Software products at: www.niksoftware.com

It makes sense when you think about it. Hook a student for cheap, then they are in the annuity cycle for upgrades as they get older. A lot of companies grasp this model, and with the good products from Nik, I am glad to see them participate.

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On Location in Breckenridge, Colorado

Breck Connect Gondola
Yesterday I went skiing at Breckenridge as part of the KBPI Humpday Hooky promotion. Basically you get a lift ticket at Breckenridge for $10.50. That’s almost an $80 discount over their normal lift ticket price. Last year there weren’t a lot of people taking advantage of it, but yesterday there were a ton of people there. And of course, the weather was an issue higher up. I elected not to bring my camera with me, opting instead to just shoot pics with my cell phone camera if conditions warranted. But man, do I hate my cellphone camera. It is a Verizon XV6900 (also known as a HTC Touch), and it was definitely not designed for taking pictures.

After I got done skiing the knee deep powder at the top of Peak 7 (and learning how out of shape I am), I headed back down to the parking lot to get some pictures. The one above is the gondola that connects a parking lot in the town of Breckenridge with the base areas at Peaks 7 & 8. Parking there is $10, so I got to ski yesterday for a total of $20.50. Not bad at all. Next one will be in February. Keep an eye on my Colorado skiing website for announcements about the next Humpday Hooky. I plan on being there.

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Online image galleries – I don’t get it

Lakewood High School Cheerleaders 2008-09
Like any photographer with an online presence, I wanted to be able to sell prints of my images online. I have a number of images that I think are worthy of hanging on the walls of homes and businesses (corporate art I guess), and I also have portraits that I have done of various people (mainly my daughter’s senior pictures and the Lakewood High School Cheerleaders). In either case, it is the ultimate convenience for my customers to be able to review their images online, tell me if they want any of them retouched, then be able to order the final versions in whatever dimensions or on whatever material (canvas wrap, coffee mug, etc) they want.

I took these things into consideration when I started looking for an online gallery source. I could have done it myself, using Gallery2 or similar software, but I honestly didn’t want to handle the back-end pieces of fulfillment. A one stop shop was a good idea. So I researched the different sites out there. Smugmug is widely regarded as the market leader. The there is Zenfolio and a bunch of others.

I have friends on Smugmug, and I never really liked how the sites looked. I know customization is possible, but I was hoping to avoid that. Zenfolio, however, had a nice, clean interface. The ordering process was straightforward. They let me do coupons and all that sort of stuff. The only thing they were lacking was digital downloads. This is a pretty big deal in this day and age. A number of other sites offer this. As recently as July, they indicated this was a priority and they were working on it. As recently as 10/28 though, they made it crystal clear that we won’t see it in the immediate future.

Instead, Zenfolio is putting their development focus on allowing comments on photos. I have a couple issues with this.
1. Zenfolio is not Flickr. It is a commerce site. Comments are secondary in nature to the sales process.
2. Digital downloads offer immediate $$ returns. As a photographer looking to make money from my images, this is a priority to me.

I have already lost at least one sale that I know of because I didn’t have an immediate download option available. And that was someone who took the time to let me know. How many opportunities have their been that I was not aware of?

It’s my own fault really. I have this need to be different, and give “new guys” a chance even when it might not make the most sense. I have learned my lesson though. I am signing up for my Smugmug free trial today and will start using their tools to migrate my stuff away from Zenfolio. The good news is that the “Print of the Week” entries will now be available as digital downloads, so you can use them as a desktop, print them for yourself at home, or however you want to use it. Commercial licensing will also be available if you want to use one of my images for an ad campaign or something similar. I’ll let you know as soon as this is available.

By the way – if you have found this post and are a dissatisfied Zenfolio / Flickr / Picassa / Phanfare / Yahoo / Photosite customer, go to smugglr.smugmug.com and see how you can migrate your stuff to Smugmug, and save significantly on your first year with them.

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