Digital Downloads are Here

Greetings reader,

As you may have read in a previous post. I was working on releasing a set of digital downloads for a low price. After a few weeks of hard work, they are finally for sale and can be found in my “Digital Downloads” section of the “Shop” tab.

You can find the licence details there, but as you may have read in my previous post. They are for personal use only, and are not to be sold or given away as “gifts” or “prizes” to friends or anyone else. I know this might seem unreasonable, and there’s really no way for me to enforce it, but that’s business. I’ve included a variety of landscape images - perfect for computer desktops, and vertical images - perfect for phone backgrounds.

I’ve began my digital downloads with 15 images, some old, some new. You may notice that I don’t have a lot of my city photography for sale, and the main reason for that has to do with copyright. A lot of famous buildings and landmarks in Japan are protected by copyright, which means I can’t legally sell anything with those landmarks as a prominent part of the image. I’m still working out where the line is (when a picture of a landmark becomes a picture that happens to have a landmark in it) and exactly which buildings do and don’t have copyright protection, but until then, I’m only including 3 city shots, which either feature buildings that aren’t protected by copyright (that I could find online), or are made up of enough other stuff that copyright shouldn’t really apply (a city skyline, for example). That being said, I’ve been rather limited in my ability to find out more about the Japanese laws regarding this, so these photos may be taken off my website, should I learn that they do infringe on a copyright of some sort. With some luck, I’ll be able to get in touch with a legal professional to explain this to me in more detail, but I’m really busy.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works:

When you purchase a digital download, you should receive an automatic email from me containing a downloadable link. Once you click the link, it becomes active and should download immediately to your device. The link will only remain active for 24 hours after the first download, so please ensure that your file has downloaded. If you encounter any issues, please let me know as soon as possible

Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via the contact page.

Coming Soon: Digital Downloads (phase one)

Greetings reader.

As you, hopefully, already know, I sell prints in my shop, both standard and fine art quality. However, I understand that even my lowest of low prices may be a little too high for some people. I believe that art and photography should be enjoyed by everyone, not just the wealthy. So, in an attempt to help keep my photos accessible to everyone, I’m currently working on releasing a batch of photos for digital download. I haven’t quite worked out all of the details, yet, but I’ll share what I’ve come up with so far.

I will be releasing a selection of high quality images for digital download. These will likely be some of my favorites, and not necessarily my “best” work. My goal is to keep these downloads as cheap as possible, while still making them profitable (sorry, it’s a business) so none of these particular images will be the same as my prints. I will always keep my prints and these affordable digital downloads separate, as I don’t want to reduce the value of my fine art prints.

These digital downloads will be for personal, non-profit use only. Since I’m trying to keep these prices low, I will not be handing over any kind of commercial licencing rights for any of the images. The images will be a one time download for personal use only. Much like when you download a song off the iTunes store, you will have ownership over that one digital version of the image. You can make digital copies for yourself, play around with them in Photoshop, use them for your computer desktop or phone wallpaper, etc. However, I will clearly state that they are not to be resold, redistributed, printed with the intent to sell or give away, or reproduced in any way. Furthermore, they are not able to be used in any commercial way, regardless of form. In the future, I also plan to release some digital images for commercial use with licencing rights (phase two), but they will be much more less affordable. I’m also considering some other digital options (phase three), but I won’t get into that yet, as it’s something I’ve just started thinking about (and I think a new idea I’ve never seen before - so I don’t want anyone to steal it… not that I have an influence).

Each affordable digital download will have my name and my website on it in small text, in an effort to prevent them from being resold or printed, but at the end of the day, it will be running on the honor system. This is what will help keep the prices so low, as they will technically count as “watermarks”.

I’m planning to roll these out some time in September.

Thanks for reading.

More Bang for your Buck

Greetings fellow users of the internet.

As you know, my shop went down, last month, so I could make some changes before continuing to sell my prints. The reason I did this was to “enhance the value” of each print, at least in theory.

From now on, with each limited edition fine art print, you will receive:

A certificate of authenticity. This will include information, such as the date the photo was taken, the location, the print date, and my signature, to prove that the print was indeed taken by and printed by yours truly. This may not be a big deal now, but if I ever make it big, you’ll want to hold on to it!

A personalized thank you letter on a postcard I’ve made myself. Previously, I had been writing my personalized letters on a piece of note paper, which isn’t uncommon, but I was encouraged to try doing something a with a little more pizazz, thus I made my own postcard on extra thick paper. So from now on, you’ll not only be getting a personally written letter from me, but you’ll be getting it on a fancy little postcard I made myself.

The background about the image. This information can also be found on the print page, for each image. However, I’ve decided to write an even more detailed version for each of my prints, so you can better understand the story behind each image. The reason I’ve decided to do this, is to share why each image is special to me. I don’t just sell the images I think look the best, I sell the ones that mean the most to me… and look the best.

For standard prints, you will receive the background about the image, and the letter. However, since they are not limited edition, they won’t include a certificate of authenticity.

Another reason I’ve decided to add these extra things to my prints is because I, unfortunately, had to raise my prices. I underestimated the amount of time and effort I would have to spend picking up my prints, getting the boxes, and filling out paperwork. On top of that, the service I use for processing my purchases also takes a slice of the profit. That being said, my prices are still well below the average price for fine art prints, so you’re still getting some of the best prices possible.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your support. I’m working on some more affordable options, and will be making a blog post about that, hopefully, within the next week or two.

Shipping Price Changes

Greetings fellow users of the internet.

In a previous post, I talked about some of my shipping policies and price points. As I also mentioned in that post, those prices were subject to change. Upon sending my first shipment, I found that I had underestimated the shipping price for my larger prints. From now on, all prints at a size of 16x20 or A2 or larger will be sent using the EMS service here in Japan. This has some benefits, and some drawbacks, which I will briefly discuss here.

What is EMS?

Well, basically, it’s a form of shipping used for larger packages here in Japan. The shipping price system here can best be describe as “convoluted”, as simply adding a note with someone’s name in it is enough to change the classification of the contents, thus changing the price. However, those conditions don’t apply to the EMS system, which makes it easier for me. As such, I will be able to personally thank each person who purchases a larger print, name and all, without worrying about breaking any classification rules.

Benefits:

Each package is tracked, so you can check when your package was sent, and you can follow its movement

It’s fast. While standard shipping can take upwards of one to two weeks, EMS can arrive as quickly as just a few days after being shipped.

It’s insured, so if the picture is somehow damaged or lost during shipment, I will hopefully be able to provide you with a replacement. Keep in mind, I’m still working out the details here, so I can’t make any concrete promises at this point.

Drawbacks:

It’s ridiculously expensive. If you live outside of Japan, the shipping cost for all large size prints will just about triple in price, going up to just over $20 for those living in Africa and South America. I’m working on ways to bring these prices down, but the current packaging I use with JP post is too large for me to send any other way.

I apologize for the price increase, however, at this point there’s not much I can do. I’m currently searching for smaller tubes with lids, so I can provide my previously offered prices. However, as I’m learning, finding art supplies in Japan is incredibly difficult, especially when you don’t know what anything is called.

Thank you for your understanding.

Jordan

How Having a Baby Changed my Photography (For the Better).

Greetings fellow users of the internet.

No one can argue that one of the biggest life changing moments one can experience is having a child. Gone are the days of freedom, both in terms of time and money; two things which photography can heavily require. However, this change in lifestyle doesn’t have to mean the end of your photography. Rather, it can test your ability to adapt to your conditions. Admittedly, I’ve been lucky to have such a wonderful wife to do most of the heavy lifting at home, so I can still enjoy my hobby and work towards making it something more. That being said, I’ve still done my best to reduce the amount of time I’m out of the house, chasing the light.

One thing I find a lot of professionals will talk about is “finding your style”. I can see where this comes from, as it can be easier to maintain an audience when they know what to expect. However, as many artists and creators have shown, sometimes it also helps to have a variety of styles. Let us not forget, George Miller made both the high impact, visually stunning, adrenaline rush that was Mad Max: Fury Road, as well as the movie that definitely exists, Happy Feet. Also, if you look at some of the greats in music, many of them changed their sound and style over the years; The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Wombats (OK… so I’m just a big fan, sue me).

However, I feel like the problem with “finding your style” is that it can stagnate creativity. I don’t want to name drop, but there are a lot of professional landscape photographers I fell in love with back in 2015/2016, but after just two years of seeing epic Icelandic landscape after Icelandic landscape, it just gets a little… dull. Don’t get me wrong, they are still great and I still admire their work, but even I put away my Beatles albums for a few days in favor of The Gorillaz or Foster the People.

All this is to say, the ability to adapt and try new styles is key to staying active and fresh. This is where we come back around to the overall topic mentioned in my title (it only took 3 paragraphs). Having a baby forced me to change from a more landscape based focus into a more building abstract focused style. This has benefited me in a number of ways. The first of which is that it has significantly increased the number of quality and unique images I can create in a shorter amount of time. Where I used to take a 2 hour trip (one way) to grab one or to photos during sunset or sunrise, I can now get upwards of 3 or 4 just 20-30 minutes from my house, all hours of the day. This has allowed me to expand my style from just landscape photography, which, let’s face it, is an over-saturated photography market, to a more abstract style, which is still prominent, but much less so than landscapes. As a result, I’m able to spend more time with my family and helping around the house than standing around waiting for the light.

Another way this has helped me is by changing the way I see cities. If you had told me a year ago that some of my favorite images of the year would be taken on a bridge in Kawasaki, a train station on the border of Chiba and Tokyo, or a parking lot in Hamamatsu, I would have called you crazy. However, here we are in 2019, and that is the case. These days, buildings aren’t just buildings, they are possible subjects, and I’ve been finding more and more joy walking around the city looking for the perfect angle to capture abstract images, regardless of how crazy it makes me look.

The final way this has helped me is by giving me the chance to explore parts of Tokyo I’ve never seen before, even after living here for 5 years, and passing by them numerous times. A few years ago I felt I needed to go to amazing locations in Yamanashi or Nagano for a few days to capture truly great images, however, now I find I’m better able to do that by just taking a short trip over to Shinjuku or Musashi-Kosugi. This means I’m able to save money and spend more time with my family, all while continuing to produce high quality images. Had I never had a baby, I don’t know if I ever would have been able to see the cities of Japan in the way I currently do: as abstract wonders waiting to be photographed.

Has there ever been a moment and life event that has caused you to change your photography? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me via the “contact” page, and I might just share your story here.

Thanks for reading.

Shipping Explained.

Hello again, reader

In this post, I just want to give a brief and honest overview of my shipping prices, and explain some of the options.

I’ll start with Japan:

1) standard shipping - this is the cheapest option and is the cheapest. The positive point is the price, it’s rather affordable, however, the con is that it’s not insured. This means if the print is damaged or lost during shipment, I won’t be able to replace it or provide a refund. (reasons explained below)

2) Insured: this one is a little more pricey, but if you really care about the piece you are ordering I strongly recommend it. The negative point is that it’s more expensive, but only by about 3usd. The positive point is that is that all shipments are insured up to 50,000jpy. This means if the shipment is lost or damaged, it can be replaced or refunded.

Now on to abroad (Outside Japan):

A quick note first. these shipping prices are the lowest possible prices, for the time being. These may go up if JP Post refuses to let me classify my prints as a “small package” rather than a “letter”… the red tape here is weird sometimes, if I even write a “thank you” note, it will count as a “letter” and the shipping will double… that being said, I’m going to try to slip one in there, because it seems like a decent thing to do.

Unfortunately, I only provide standard shipping abroad, and the main reason is price. If I were to offer insured shipping, it would be an additional 1400-2200jpy, which I think is a little unreasonable, especially since my prices are low for a reason. In my future, I may make this available in select areas, if there is a high demand for it. However, at this point, I’ve already had to make so many shipment settings my head is spinning. The biggest drawback of this standard shipping is the same as above, as soon as the print leaves my hands, there’s not much I can do, in terms of ensuring its safe delivery. Unfortunately, this also means I won’t be able to provide refunds or replacements for anything lost of damaged in the mail, and I’ll explain why below.

Packing:

For each and every print, I will take every precaution to ensure prints arrive safely. Each one will be in a sturdy package to prevent bending, covered in protective paper and plastic to prevent scratches and water damage, and my A3 prints will have an extra piece of cardboard in the sturdy envelop to prevent further bending (my A4 and smaller prints shouldn’t require this cardboard - but I may add some, if I can get my hands on more). My larger prints will be shipped in a cardboard tube/box and wrapped in paper. Unfortunately I’m unable to find plastic big enough to put these prints in, but perhaps I can cover it in a garbage bag or something… or would that send the wrong message? . All of this is to say I’ve taken every possible precaution within my budget to keep my shipments protected and if something arrives damaged, someone tried really hard to damage it.

Refunds and replacements:

Being as honest as possible, the reason I can’t provide refunds on my low price shipping is because I’m not a multi-million dollar company that has money to throw around. I’m just one guy, a small “artist”, working out of his house. Unfortunately, I don’t have the resources to replace any uninsured prints, as a second print would put me in the red. You can read all about how much I’m making, in general, for each print in this post here. Again, as I mentioned above, I might make insured shipping available in select locations, but the prices are quite high.

Thank you for reading. I hope this didn’t come across as too direct, but I believe in being open and honest about my options and prices. As I’ve said many times, I’m just a small time photographer trying to start a business, of sorts, so a lot of this is still a work in progress and will hopefully become easier over time. I appreciate your understanding and your willingness to take a chance on a small artist.

An honest explanation of my prices. [update]

Greetings reader,

As you may have noticed, my shop is now open and ready to receive orders. With this, I expect there to be some surprise regarding the prices. I understand that a number of people visiting my website may not be as immersed in the photography world as others, I imagine there might be a little bit of confusion or shock over my prices. I wanted to make this post to explain my price points and to, I guess, assure people that these are some of the lowest prices for “fine art” quality photography you’ll find anywhere, relative to the amount of time, effort, and skill required to take each one. I think the simplest way to break this down, would to be a sort of imagined Q&A of what I think people might want to ask me… if that makes sense.

1) These prices seem a little high, don’t they?

A: Well, in general, yes. However, comparatively, they are incredibly cheap, for photography. I completely agree that in a vacuum, 9500 yen (85usd) seems unreasonable for a fancy piece 16x20 of paper with a picture printed on it. However, when compared to the 214usd that other photographers sell it for, it’s peanuts. I’ve even been told by the people at my print shop that my prices are unreasonably low.

I also have all of my photos professionally printed and cut, which means I have to add their costs to my own price… to you know… to at least break even.

2) Then why are they so low?

A: I’m aware that my name carries no weight in the photography world. The fact is, most “famous” or “professional” photographers are charging you for the right to own something with their name on it, or to pay their bills. That’s totally fine, but I’m not there. I’m just some schlub, relatively speaking. These photos are not a cash grab, and at this point I’d appreciate the idea of more people owning my work than making tons of money for each purchase.

3) What’s the difference between standard quality and fine art quality?

A: Simply put, the fine art quality prints are on much better (and more expensive) paper. Many of them are considered “museum quality”, and have much more weight to them. As for if you’ll notice the difference… well, that depends on your lighting set up, and how much you really pay attention to art. If I’m being 100% honest, 90% of people won’t notice the difference (don’t tell other photographers I said that, they’ll kill me.) I recommend getting the fine art prints if you really appreciate high quality paper and if you have the appropriate lighting set up to really show off the image.

4) So, why do you offer both? (also sizes)

A: I respect that not everyone can afford super high quality images, but may still want to support a small photographer (both in height and level of fame). As such, I’m trying to give an option that allows for more people to enjoy my work. This will also go for size. A lot of photographers might argue that A4 or 8x10 is too small to “appreciate” the work, but I’m not here to tell people how to enjoy the art they enjoy. I also understand that not everyone has the space required to hang up an a2 or 16x20 print.

5) What am I paying for?

A: I’m trying to keep my prices as low as possible. On general principle, I’m going to try to avoid putting the cost of things like travel or rental cars on my customers. If a particular image took a lot of time or effort to capture and perfect, it might reflect in the price, but I’ll try my best not to do that too much. I’ll try to break it down in a simple way.

Essentially, you’re paying for: Generally speaking, the cost to produce the prints

the cost of the paper

the printing service I use

and the money I spend going to and from the print shop

additionally, I’ve added an extra amount to each one, to ensure I make a least a little money. This is, after all, a business… of sorts. This may go up, the more and more I rely on photography as a source of income, so get them now while I’m a nobody and they are cheap!

Also, the rarity of the prints may be taken into consideration. So if I decide to just do a super limited run of 10 prints, rather than 25, the price of the super limited run might be a little more expensive because, again, this is a business, and these photos do technically quality as “art”, and the rarer something is, the more “value” it has.

6) So what am I not paying for, then?

A: What you’re not paying for: In a nutshell, my life choices

My gear

My travel expenses

My personal taste (yes some photographer charge more for some images because they “like them” more.)

The “journey” (yes, again, a lot of photographers charge extra for photos because the adventure or story behind the image). As mentioned above I’m going to try not to do this, but this may come into effect the more I rely on photography as a source of income. For now, my photos will have a generally flat rate, but if I’m able to get a shot with super rare conditions that required a lot of time, effort, and money, I might charge a little extra.

7) How much are you making per print?

A: When it came to my prices, my biggest concern was that people would think I jacked up the prices, just to make money. I mean, after all, these are just pieces of paper with pretty pictures printed on them, when you really think about it. While I won’t go into the specifics, all you really need to know is that if you buy my cheapest print, I make about 20usd, and if you buy the most expensive one, I still make around or slightly more than 50usd. Essentially, I added about 40% for my cheapest prints, and that number goes down to about 30% for the biggest one, as I wanted to keep things as cheap as possible, while still making this worth my time. When coming up with these numbers, I mostly took into consideration how much work it requires to go to the print shop, check the prints, take them home, pack them, and ship them. These might seem high, but if I’m being honest, they are seriously undervaluing my time as a photographer, a father, and a person. It takes me about 2.5 hours to pick up prints and get home. On top of that, I have to ride some of the busiest trains in Japan, so keeping the prints safe is a challenge in itself. So when you do all the math, it’s more or less like I’m working for minimum wage for small prints, and a semi decent wage for large prints. Again, as previously mentioned, these will change if I start to rely more on photography as a source of income, so get them now while I’m a nobody… or before I stay a nobody and have no choice but to shut down my website and these prints are lost to the sands of time…

Alright, so these are the questions I imagined some people might have. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me via the “contact” page or DM on Instagram… or ask me to my face, if you know me personally.

Thanks for reading… and apologies for any typos.

The glacier of progression is slow, but moves ever forward. (UPDATE)

Greetings reader.

Thank you again for visiting my website. It would seem I am nearly done all of the steps required to open my print shop. If things go well, it may actually be possible for me to put my prints up earlier than planned. Here’s a little breakdown of what I have done so far, and I what I still need to do.

1) Set up credit card payments and do a test run of the payment system - done

2) Select my first run of prints and prepare them for the shop - done

3) Acquire everything needed for safe shipping - 95% done (just waiting on protective plastic sleeves)

4) Do test prints - Files have been sent to the shop, I will pick them up, next Tuesday (hopefully)

5) Set up PayPal payments - working on it, PayPal in Japan is such a pain. (To be honest, this one is optional)

6) Do mailing test to check to ensure prints can be delivered safely - Will do it, next week.

After I complete 4 and 6. I’ll officially be able to get things up and running. With luck, I’ll be able to do 5 by then, but PayPal’s confirmation process moves frustratingly slowly.

I know it may not seem like a lot of things to do. But setting up this shop and preparing materials for shipping has easily been the most stressful thing I’ve ever done here in Japan. Just finding protective plastic sleeves proved to be quite a challenge. On top of that, I do have a full time job, and I try my best to help around the house, and with my daughter, so I have rather limited time, as I’m trying my best to keep everything balanced.

With luck, I will be able to post another update, next week celebrating the opening of my print shop.

Thank you again for reading

Jordan

A Step in the Right Direction.

After years of dreaming and months of planning, I’ve finally taken a step in the direction of turning my passion into more than “just a hobby”. I know I’m not the greatest photographer in the world, and I still have a long way to go, however, I’m rather happy with my growth over the last few years. It was back in 2015 that I really considered turning what has been my hobby since 2008 into something more. I know that the odds of this turning into a full time thing are incredibly low, but as long as I’m careful, there’s no harm in giving it a shot.

With that in mind, thank you for taking the time to visit my site, and to read this. I hope you’ll continue to follow me on my journey. I’m hoping to have a shop with some prints up, in the near future. Until then, feel free to browse my galleries.

Thanks!