Many of you knew me when I was president of Rangefinder Publishing and (WPPI) Wedding and Portrait Photographers International. I was there for seven years before starting my own company in the spring of 2009.
Everyone knows businesses that have come and gone but rarely do you get the inside scoop on how the business got started. In 2007, Rangefinder Publishing launched AfterCapture, which to this day is still a stunning example of what you can accomplish with a great team and a solid idea. It didn't survive changes in the publishing economy, but for those of you with great ideas but afraid to share them it's still a fun and relevant back-story.
The senior management team at Rangefinder Magazine back then was George Varanakis, Bill Hurter, Arlene Evans and yours truly. George, Bill and I were talking one day, and one of them had an idea to start a magazine that only focused on what to do with an image AFTER the shutter clicked.
At PPE, then known as Photo Expo, we got a private conference room to present a twenty minute power point presentation about the idea. George and I did 15-20 presentations over three days with some key ingredients for you to remember when you're looking for partners in various projects.
- We knew what we were talking about. We rehearsed the presentation over and over again, to make sure everyone would recognize how strong the concept was and how much we believed it.
- We booked meetings in advance. This needed to be far more than a cold call idea on the trade show floor pitched while standing in a vendor's booth.
- Confidentiality was a key. This was the kicker - every vendor attending the presentation had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. In all honesty, we didn't care if the word eventually got out, but this early in the game we wanted them to feel like they were an important part of the process. They also needed to know how serious we were about making AfterCapture a success.
Well, we walked to the edge of the cliff and jumped! The response was overwhelming. The large image above was the first cover of AfterCapture, followed by the other issues, every other month, but there's one more stroke of brilliance about the way it was launched.
George Varanakis is one of the most creative advertising guys in the industry, and he came in one morning with a copy of Men's Health. That month's copy was two different magazine, paginated in opposite directions. Men's Health ran one way - turn it upside down and one of their sister magazines ran on the other side.
"Why can't we do that?" George asked. Within seconds, we were in Bill's office and started to lay out the plan for the first issue. Again, the success of the magazine was all about team sports. Susan Cegarra and Gennie Kiuchi were critical in figuring out how we were going to do this and still keep our sanity. The Rangefinder team of writers both in staff and freelance played a huge part as well.
We launched the magazine with the first cover shot being one of Lynn Goldsmith's images, and AfterCapture was officially born. It was an instant success and ran for several years before times changed, along with management and it was dropped from Rangefinder's assets.
So, it's Throwback Thursday and an opportunity for you to share some old images and take a walk down memory lane. This is where you can shine with making a point about the value of professional photographs and their life-expectancy, which is often "forever". Remember your target audience in the portrait/social categories are women and more specifically Mom! You've got to keep reminding her how fast the kids grow up and life changes.
Happy Throwback Thursday everybody!