Great Customer Service

Long time no post.  I've been bad about keeping updates regular, but I've placed multiple post-it notes around to remind me to blog.  That will be another post.  Back on topic.

Who doesn't love good customer service?  It seems that good customer service is seldom experienced and occasionally heard about.  Most of the time when people write reviews it is negative because something bad happened.  They didn't get what they wanted, what they expected, or they just like to complain.  Well today is about a great customer service experience.

If you follow my personal Instagram account (and you should if you like cute kids, archaeology, dogs, or are interested in my life behind the lens, @mattevans_amf) you would be at least passingly familiar with the vintage lens I acquired a couple months back. I'd been eyeballing the quirky, swirly bokeh-monster Helios 44.  For my birthday, I ordered one as well as a Nikon F mount adapter.  And then I waited...

Helios44-2.jpg

Look at that fine piece of Soviet optical engineering!  I started tinkering around with kicknacks on my desk...  But the focal depth was a bit off.  I knew that the lens wouldn't focus to infinity, but I didn't think it would really be a problem.  And it wasn't, until I conned a couple friends and former clients (thanks Jessica and Daniel!) in to meeting me at the local nature park for a shoot.  Without going to much in to the math, science, and other boring bits, the combo wasn't working as I had envisioned.  The focal plane was off, and I was essentially limited to VERY close images.  Not suitable for portraiture.

I still managed to get some images though, so not a total loss...

This image was taken free-lensing, which allowed me to get the rear element of the lens closer to the sensor.  We get the sweet swirly bokeh, but free-lensing isn't easy and not practical.

This image was taken free-lensing, which allowed me to get the rear element of the lens closer to the sensor.  We get the sweet swirly bokeh, but free-lensing isn't easy and not practical.

Thanks to the internet, I found an "almost" workaround.  Using a rubber o-ring, I was able to disassemble the lens and "adjust" one of the optical elements.  This modification put me closer to a usable focal range, but still not ideal.  Fun to play with, but not something I would want to use on a paid client's shoot.

Thanks to the internet, I found an "almost" workaround.  Using a rubber o-ring, I was able to disassemble the lens and "adjust" one of the optical elements.  This modification put me closer to a usable focal range, but still not ideal.  Fun to play with, but not something I would want to use on a paid client's shoot.

While looking for a more "professional" solution, I stumbled across a video on YouTube, which ultimately led me to Retro Foto House.  These fine folks actually adjust and machine vintage lenses so that they function flawlessly on you camera body of choice!  Solution found!  I ordered a Helios 44-M adjusted for Nikon DSLR cameras, and then waited. Again.

So today I got the "new" lens.  And before I even got it out of the box, I open and read the hand-written letter from the manager.  Hand. Written. Letter.  Who even does that?

Seriously.  Incredible handwriting.  English isn't his first language, but still.

Seriously.  Incredible handwriting.  English isn't his first language, but still.

I'll tell you who, Roman Bibik.  A guy who is passionate about his craft, and who wants his customers to have only the best experience with him and his work.  Let me type out the letter, since it is hard to read.  He took the effort to write it, I will make the effort to share it.

Dear Customer,
  Please find enclosed your purchase.  Hope you will enjoy it.  In case of any problems, do not hesitate to contact me, I'm working for your satisfaction.  I do appreciate also a positive 5 star feedback, so if you are happy with your item please leave me a positive 5 star feedback, I'll do the same for you.  Hoping to collaborate with you again.
                                                                               Sincerely yours,
                                                                                  Roman Bibik,
                                                                    Manager of Retro Foto House Team

Roman, if I could leave more than 5 stars I would.  I might even make another account to leave another review.  And make my wife do one as well.

So by now you might be wondering where I am going with this...  Great customer service stands out.  Especially when it is personalized.  Roman Bibik of Retro Photo House inspires me.  That is the kind of experience I want my clients to have.   Something unique and personal, AND of good quality once you actually get to the product!

Thanks Roman.  You're the man!

 

A little teaser with my "new" adjusted Helios lens.

A little teaser with my "new" adjusted Helios lens.

A Fresh (Re)Start

I have been far too long in setting up a real, professional website. 

It has been a full-time struggle juggling my full-time job as an archaeologist, part-time job as a photographer, buying our first house, being a husband, and meeting the dictates of a toddler that has discovered her knack for personnel management.  However amidst all that chaos, I have discovered how much I enjoy the art of photography, and more so how much I enjoy sharing it with others.

With 2018, I am going to push myself and my small business a bit harder.  I want to grow.  Not just in the sense of financial improvement, but also in the quality of the images which I am producing.

I also want to help other people grow.  One of my goals is to help aspiring photographers to grow as well.  Another is to donate my time and talents, and so I have started putting some feelers out to do some charity work with some local non-profits.

To say that I am excited for what may come in the next year is an understatement.  Here's to a great 2018!