TWiP #231 – Only $30 to Touch Their Junk


This week on TWiP: CNN lays off photojournalists citing the accessibility of quality cameras, brick and mortar camera shops start charging you touch the goods, looking back a the most memorable stories and images from 2011, and an interview with Paul C. Buff.

Hosts: Frederick Van Johnson, Doug Kaye, Bruce Clarke



Valid ONLY until MIDNIGHT DEC 10th PST 2011!!
Use the code ‘TWIPDROBOS” and get your Drobo S for $399 (Regularly $799!)

Get Drobo S for $399



CNN Lays off Photojournalists Citing the Accesibility of Quality Cameras
From Petapixel: Roughly 50 staffers at CNN were given pink slips today, including nearly a dozen photojournalists. In an email to the staff, Senior VP Jack Womack cited the accessibility of cameras and the growth of citizen journalism as reasons for the terminations.

Frederick, Doug, and Bruce discuss the reasons behind this move by CNN and speculate on whether we will see more of this in the future and if other news agencies will follow suit. Doug points out that this has happened in other areas such as Bloggers replacing Journalists, micro-stock replacing professional photographers, etc and see this as a business change.

Bruce thinks this trend will continue but hopes that there will still be a place for professional photojournalists who are trained in telling a story.

Camera Shop Charges $30 ‘Explanation Fee' for Handling it's Cameras
From Petapixel: Here's another sign of the changing times: so many camera shoppers are turning to the Internet for deals that some cameras shops are now charging fees for customers who want to test out their cameras.

A survey conducted by the paper of more than 1000 people also revealed that 61% had tried out products in local stores before actually buying them online, and half of those people had done so more than five times.

Yahoo! Releases it's 2011 Year in Review
Ernest Aguayo, a former TWiP staffer, left us a few months ago to work on a secret project for Yahoo which was just released this week. Ernest was finally able to reveal that the secret project he's been working has been as the photo editor for the 2011 Year in Review and features some of the top searches and news stories in 2011.

Top search – the iPhone. Top news story – the Casey Anthony trial. Buzzfeed also recently published it's list of the 45 most powerful images of 2011.

One of Doug's most memorable photos from the year was ones that he took while on vacation in Egypt in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Day One of the Revolution:

Frederick's most memorable photograph is one that Trey Ratcliff took of the Space Shuttle going into the clouds.

For Bruce, many of the photos that came out of Japan during the earthquake and tsunami were among the most memorable images from 2011.


This week, Frederick sat down with with Paul C. Buff who has produced several well known lighting products including White Lighting and Alien Bees and built a company supplying these products to photographers. Frederick chats with Mr Buff about how he started the business and how he built it to the point where it's at today. For more information on his products, check out their website at


Question 1: Chris Carpenter in the forums wonders: Is the Go Pro a camera that would cover our need to take nice looking video of family stuff or am I better off getting a D300s or D7000 for video and forgetting my full-frame lust?

Bruce: If he's looking for just something to shoot video, the Go Pro will be easier to use and isn't very expensive but if he's also planning to shoot stills and do video, then he'll want to go with the D300s or D7000.

Both Frederick and Doug agree that if he wants to shoot video with that shallow depth of field and cinema film look, then he'll want to go with the dSLR but they are more complicated and clunky to use and not the best tool for a quick video grab.

Question 2: Forum member Cobus writes: I have a bunch of books on technique and composition. I am becoming reasonably proficient with my camera and with composition. However, I find that I need some creative inspiration and decided to try and find some books along that line.

Frederick suggests Joe McNally's book Sketching with Light, and Vincent Laforet: Visual Stories

Doug recommends David DuChemin's Craft and Vision series.

Bruce suggests the movie Baraka which is also available on Netflix and also has a number of coffee table books including National Geographic's Through the Lens


Doug – ACLU's “Know Your Rights: Photographers” and Carolyn Wright's “Photographer's Legal Guide” $19.95 or $9.95 PDF

Bruce – Macro Cell Lens Band and iPad CF  SD Readers for the iPad

Frederick – Discounted DroboS  Valid Dec 9th & 10th only using the code ‘TWIPDROBOS”

Frederick – Joe McNally's Sketching with Light

There is also a TWiP Meetup on Friday, December 9th


Follow us on Join the Flickr critique group. You can also join our Facebook group and add us to your circles on Google+.

Doug Kaye – or or Google Plus

Bruce Clarke – or or Google Plus

Frederick Van Johnson – or or Google Plus


TWiP is brought to you by the following sponsor:, the fast and easy way to create a high-quality website or blog.  For a free trial and 30% off your new account for three months, go to, and use offer code TWIP12.

Pre-Production and Show notes by Bruce Clarke or or Google Plus

Producers: Liana Lehua

Bandwidth provided by Cachefly

Intro Music by Scott Cannizzaro

Photo Credit: Plutor on Flickr


  1. As a pro shooter and a onetime retail sales rep in a camera store, I wish to take issue with your indictment of camera brick and mortar stores. A good retail establishment provides customer service, knowledgeable sales help, and the opportunity to go hands-on with lots of merchandise. The best retail stores, such as an LL Bean or Whole Foods, also provide a pleasant shopping environment. All this costs money. Your local camera store just cannot match the prices of a NY giant, or an Amazon dealer, and make a profit.

    Frederick, as a pro photographer you have more product knowledge than most consumers and you are better equipped to navigate the myriad of camera buying options presented to customers. But, the average camera buyer needs help making decisions and the advice of a live sales rep has a cost and a benefit.

    When I sold cameras I was on commission. Although I did not sell cameras and accessories to customers that were unnecessary or frivolous, I will confess that I did my best to sell the gear that paid me the most. It may come as a surprise to you and your readers/listeners to learn that cameras are among the least profitable items sold by a dealer.

    Now with that said, I hope you are not among the tire-kickers who take the time of sales reps in stores and then walk out, always intending to buy the same product you demo’d at B&H. The man or woman behind the counter does have a family to feed and a mortgage to pay. I will say, that charging a $30 fee for a camera demo is about as crass as the policy enacted in a few New York City restaurants, whereby the waiter collects the payment for the meal before it is actually served.

    Finally, I must scold you for mentioning the name of a retail store on the air that displeased you. This is entirely unprofessional. It would be another matter to praise an establishment. Bad news and criticism travel quickly. When you trash someone publicly it is your reputation may be questioned along with that of the store.

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