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radiantphotography.com > Blog > 2009

Seeing friends’ and colleagues’ Facebook and Twitter updates all day today, I’d venture a guess that ’09 was the worst year in history. For many it was, I suppose. Many people have been affected by the economy in brutal ways…losing their jobs, homes, marriages, savings and their dignity. There aren’t enough jobs to go around right now, and I’ve seen some very talented and intelligent people scraping by. I’ve seen shifts in power with laid off editors/bosses/business owners suddenly asking clients to keep an ear out for possible work. It’s heartbreaking, but through it all I’ve seen compassion like I’ve never seen before.

From this compassion, something interesting happened this year….people mattered again. Seems that when no one can get a raise, job security is on the line, and everyone knows someone who has been affected by the economy, we seem to understand that we need to watch out for each other. So I think that’s a positive thing about 2009. I don’t have a lot of faith that America as a whole will continue this positive attitude when things get good again, but for now, we’re forging better relationships with people because of it.

This year was great for Radiant, because of things like:
– We picked up some great clients of all sizes, like Ty Ku sake, Las Vegas Valley Water District, Ethel M’s candy, Octagon Sport apparel, The Fitness Source, and Trannon Culinary, among others. We also managed to keep some existing clients around, like Mars/M&Ms World, Sanchez Decor, Anne Miller Designs, Stella Laguna Beach, many of our editorial clients, and others.
– We launched whiteproductphotography.com, which has been a successful venture and one we’ll be putting more effort into expanding in 2010.
– For the first year, our commercial revenues outpaced our editorial.
– We’ve paid off all business debts and are financially healthy and poised for growth in the coming year.
– We interviewed for a Feb 2010 article in Entrepreneur magazine…watch for it.
– We upgraded equipment to provide quicker service to our clients.
– We started accepting credit/debit cards to ease the immediate pain of paying for imagery that some smaller and midsized clients were feeling in this economy. Providing this service allows them to spread out payments on their terms instead of needing to cut a paid-in-full check upon invoicing. This has really helped some people manage in these rocky times.

2010 brings with it hope for economic turnaround and growth for everyone. We’re set for careful, calculated growth using our fiscally conservative plan. Radiant will expand and be more profitable, but not at the expense of client satisfaction. We’ve got some great goals set, many of which we’re already making moves on and we can’t wait to share the challenges and rewards with you through our blog.

Thanks for the great year!
Happy new year,

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There are lots of updates to do here on the blog, but this one is just so exciting that it trumps all others.

Radiant Photography is debt-free!

Last week we made the last payment on our only open credit line and it’s an amazing feeling. It’s probably the only time you want to see zeros on your books, but man is it sweet.

The economy went south some time ago and, despite what some pundits say, I’m not counting on it turning around anytime soon. With that in mind, I started looking at smarter ways to do business and areas I can streamline. Paying interest to a defunct credit company seemed like a good place to start.

I have to give a big sarcastic thanks to Advanta, cause it wouldn’t have happened without them. Earlier this year, we got a notice from Advanta stating that the trust they use for funding credit lines was gone, thus our credit line was gone as well. Many, many small businesses got the same letter. With very little notice, many business owners were scrambling to secure other credit lines, find venture capitalists, beg for family loans, and turning to invoice factoring to facilitate quicker invoice collections. (Advanta just filed for bankruptcy this month. Read how it will affect small businesses here.)

Then as the year raged on the credit companies got greedy with fun moves like surprise interest hikes, penalizing full-balance paying customers, and other shenanigans. This didn’t affect us since we had no available credit to charge to, but it did light a fire of hatred inside me toward the way the credit industry is currently operating. I vowed to pay off Radiant’s credit line and try a new trend gaining a foothold in America called…(gasp!)…SAVING!

Radiant has always had a conservative fiscal mindset. From the outset, owning a studio or leasing a huge space was not in the five year plan, nor was over-leveraging to acquire needless equipment. For example, I built the upgradable computers our work is produced on, instead of overpaying for systems that would be obsolete in a year. We’re frugal, no doubt. In good times it might appear we don’t like to party or indulge in expensive thank you gifts, but we’re alive and kicking in these down times as a result. I’d much rather give clients consistency than be a boom-or-bust business that disappears when things get rough.

I can’t say that we won’t take on more debt in the future to expand or invest in equipment. In fact, I’m pretty sure we will, but it will be through different avenue than credit cards if their industry continues to falter. Businesses need capital to grow, hire employees, pay vendors, etc, but for now we’ll be doing so with cash savings. We’ll also trim back in areas we can afford to trim (selling space-sucking equipment we no longer need, negotiating cash rates with our suppliers, etc). It feels good to be debt free and streamlining the business. It feels even better to be doing it while business is good and we have happy clients, instead of a last ditch grab at saving what’s left of an ailing business.

When credit regulations are tightened, the economy turns around a bit, and lenders realize what true customer service is, we’ll change our tune. Moreover, I’m hoping people start saving more, forcing lending institutions to realize they need us more than we need them.

– Ryan

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Some time ago we shot pinup model Sabina Kelley for a national ad campaign for Ty Ku spirits. It took awhile to get the ad into print, but this month it was featured in Surface Magazine. Word has it, the ad will appear in other magazines in the near future as well. We’ll keep you updated on its progress through the print world.

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We don’t normally do commercial website design outside of handling our own needs at radiantphotography.com and whiteproductphotography.com. However, we are a sponsor of the Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls, handling all their roller derby photography needs, and we had a cool opportunity come up.

We’ve been maintaining their website for some time now, but it was in desperate need of a redesign. It was difficult to update, html-formatted in FrontPage 2000, and simply lacked modern website features and expandability. After many hours of research on content management systems, we decided to give Joomla a try, and so far we couldn’t be happier. The up-front work is extensive, with all the pitfalls and joys of learning a new system, but once the bones are there, the updates are fairly easy.

Joomla isn’t right for every client. We have no intentions of rebuilding the Radiant or Whiteproductphotography.com sites using Joomla, as it just doesn’t look as custom as what we have now. That’s probably more a shortcoming of our abilities than Joomla’s, but for now things will stay put. However, for realtors, sports teams, nonprofits, financial companies, and other organizations that need scalability, live feeds, and easy to use galleries, Joomla is a perfect match.

The Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls website now features CSS compliant coding, cross-browser uniformity, easier to navigate page structure, expandable photo galleries, a live news feed from Derby Network News with the latest derby news, voting polls to get fans involved, and more. It’s a work in progress, but it’s a nice start.

Check out the Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls at http://www.sincityrollergirls.com
If you live in or are visiting Las Vegas, you really should come see a bout. These girls are tough cookies.

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This post is a bit delayed due to a large workload, hey, we’re not complaining!

On Sept 12, 2009, we attended the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) awards for the Las Vegas chapter. The event was held in the beautifully restored Historic Fifth Street School in downtown Las Vegas. I’m not sure how many were in attendance, but it appeared to be filled to capacity with the area’s most creative and inspiring graphic designers, packaging designers, web design folks, photographers, multi-media people and more.

Radiant took home a bronze in the photography category with our photo “Stone, the Metalworker” shot for 944 Magazine – Las Vegas. We’re gonna call it a second place though, since there was no gold offered in that category. 🙂

Pictures of our lovely trophy (aside some old relics we dusted off) and the winning photo below.

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The September Fall Fashion Issue of 944 is out now and we have a couple pages of images this time around. We had a pleasure of shooting all the images for the Fashion Essentials section, including portraits of Las Vegas-based designers and their wares. Had a great time photographing all of them, especially Lana Fuchs of Billionaire Mafia and Misty Newton of Simply Mist.

We also have a nice interior shot on page 19 of Roberto Leyva’s home and showroom “The Living Penthouse”.

Here are some tearsheets from the online version you can see here.

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