Monday, July 09, 2012

My Open Letter to DC City Council on Uber

DC Council members,

I am current resident of Ward 6 in Washington, DC, but I am writing to all of you today on the eve of what we hope will not be a crushing blow to many here that call DC their homes.

As many of you are aware, Uber is a new service that was recently offered in the DC area to much fanfare among its residents.  For many years we have all been the subject of very poor cab service.  Poor in many ways.  As it relates to other major cites, like NYC and Chicago where residents enjoy much more standard and better cab experiences, DC has been forced to deal with an array of mish-mosh cab services who offer nothing more than poor cabs, poor service, generally a very poor experience.  This is not to mention the cab drivers blatant ability to discriminate where they will deliver a fare and more importantly who they will pick up based solely on looks. I think many of you would agree, its appalling at best.

As DC has grown and begun to flourish in recent years, a new generation of residents have embraced the city with hopes of flourishing along with it.  They have brought with them a new class of creativity, technological savvy, and entrepreneurship.  Many of us welcomed Uber because it encompassed a technological spirit and values that many of our generation seeks to embrace.  It sought to improve the lives of residents by offering a service that enabled us to have a choice and bring much needed competition into a stagnant marketplace.  Competition is a good thing, it lifts the standards and forces sub performing entities to improve or be left behind.  It is capitalism at its best.

From the beginning, the DC government, led by Ron Linton and the Taxicab Commission have sought to enforce antiquated rules/laws in order to keep Uber out of DC and allow the voice of disgruntled taxi drivers to try to eclipse the voice of the consumers.  We did not let it happen.  

However, it seems as though the issue has snuck in and reared its ugly head in the Taxi commission and Mr. Linton is attempting to have a amendment voted on by you tomorrow that would in essence stifle competition in the marketplace and give an unfair advantage to a taxi system that is morally corrupt.

Mayor Gray and many of yourselves have worked hard to make DC a great technology hub and foster entrepreneurship right here in the city.  We have had great companies born out of local partnerships and hard work, LivingSocial and HelloWallet to name but two.  Do not let that work go to waste.  Allow DC to shine as an example of a place where great things can and do happen.  A place that supports technology, innovation, and more importantly a level playing field for all to participate in.  

Some of you were arrested recently while protesting for DC statehood.  If we all are fighting for a state where our votes are heard and counted, then dont let our voices be stifled.  Let us choose our course as you want DC to be able to choose.  Some will choose cabs, some will choose Uber, but at least we will have a choice.

Pleas vote NO on the Uber Amendment

Jimmy Gardner
Ward 6 Resident

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wedding Photographer Slap Down!

I  found this great post over on PetaPixel and wanted to share .. it is quite good.  Apparently they came across this posting on Craigslist by a disgruntled bride who had issue in paying $3000 for a wedding photographer, because, as she says, all they do "is hang out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them"

The response from Nikki Wagner is priceless

Dear Bride,
I am a wedding photographer in the Erie, PA area. Wedding season only last about 4 months here, so I photograph an average of 20 weddings per year for an average of $2,500/wedding (which totals about $50,000/year).
  • That being said, I am a small business owner, so I pay all of my taxes, totaling about $15,000/year, which leaves me with a gross income of around $35,000
  • Of that $35,000 I pay $600/month in rent for my small house and garage which I converted into my studio (which is where I would be editing your wedding images).$35,000 – $7,200 = $27,800
  • Then I have my car, which I would use to get me to and from your wedding, which I pay $400/month for the lease, plus $200/month in car insurance. $27,800 – $7,200 = $20,600
  • To get to your (and my other brides) wedding consultation, second wedding pre-consultation, the wedding itself, and to and from the printers I spend $840/year in gas money. $20,600 – $840 = $19,760
  • I also have $500/year insurance in case you sue me, or if any of your drunk guests would happen to break any of my equipment. $19,760 – $500 = $19,260
  • You also probably found me through my website, which I pay $30/month for hosting, and another $30/month so that you can view your photos online and share the images with your friends and family. $19,260 – $720 = $18,540
  • Or perhaps you found me through my advertisements in the newspaper or local bridal magazines, or a bridal show that you attended that I paid to have a booth at. $18,540 – $1,000 = $17,540
  • I also pay $250/month for my own health insurance in case I were to get hurt at your wedding. $17,540 – $3,000 = $14,540
  • I pay $200/wedding for a second shooter for your wedding, so that you can have more images and different angles, as to make sure you get the best images possible at your wedding. $14,540 – $4,000 = $10,540
  • I also need to have a new pair of shoes ($100) every season because my shoes get worn out and dirty from season to season. $10,540 – $100 = $10,440
  • I need high speed internet so I can upload all of your images online, my home phone for my business and my cell phone so I can communicate with you. $10,440 – $2,500 = $7,940
  • Oh yes, and I also pay a lawyer to make sure my contracts are iron clad and an accountant to make sure that I am paying all of the taxes I need. $7,940 – $500 = $7,440
  • Sometimes I attend workshops and seminars to teach me how to better my business, and make my client happier (that would be you), as well as keep up on the trends and learn new techniques so that I can make sure you have the best quality images available.
That would technically leave me with about $7,000/year to feed myself, buy groceries, pay for my heat and electricity, clothe myself, etc. But, usually I end up reinvesting whatever I have left on upgrades and new equipment:
During your wedding, I bring my professional equipment that I use so that I can make sure you have the highest quality images.
  • I have 2 Canon 5D Mark II cameras (because you always need a backup in case of a camera malfunction, which would ruin your big day’s photographs) which cost $2,500/camera =$5,000
  • I also have quality lenses which can capture your special moments in low light situations:
    Canon 24-70 f/2.8 lens = $1,200
    Canon 70-200 f/2.8 lens = $1,300
    Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens = $500
    Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro = $600
  • …and I have speed lights to catch the fun moments at your reception:
    2 x Canon 580EX II = $1,200
  • Also multiple battery backups and memory cards, lens filters, light stands, umbrellas, light boxes, external battery packs and a bag to carry everything in = $1,500
  • Because this is equipment, sometimes I need to have it serviced or cleaned to make sure it is all working properly = $200
After spending 8-10 hours at your wedding, I then come home to my home office and spend about 20-25 hours editing your images, creating your album, blogging about your wedding, posting pictures on Facebook, ordering you prints and burning your DVDs.
  • I edit your photographs using a 27-inch iMac computer = $2,500.
  • I edit your photographs on Adobe Lightroom ($200) and Adobe CS5 ($400 for the upgrade and $900 for the new program).
  • I print your DVDs on a printer which costs $300 and which uses $200/year in ink.
  • I buy the DVDs and jewel cases you’re getting printed for $300/year
  • I archive all of your photographs on 2 x 2TB external hard drives = $500.
  • I also back up all of my photographs online so if there was ever a fire in my office, you would never lose your photographs = $400/year.
  • I also have office expenses as far as buying paper, staples, envelopes, packaging, filing cabinets and files, etc…
  • I also spend time and money ordering your prints and albums, paying for shipping, going to the post office etc.
All of that being said, I’m usually in the hole at the end of the year, and take on many family portraits, senior portraits and corporate jobs in order to make ends meet.
Photography is my passion and my livelihood, and it is also expensive. Yes, it seems like a lot of money for one day, but one day isn’t all we spend on your photographs or on our business. You will spend thousands of dollars on a wedding dress or flowers or a venue or on catering which you are going to have for only one day, but your photographs will be the only thing you have to remember that one day for the rest of your lives.
I’m extremely insulted by your craigslist post and hope this sheds a little light on why we charge $3,000 for one day of your memories that are going to last you forever.
– Nikki Wagner, Photographer