I was thinking about how great some of the services I use are… extremely well run companies that I go back to time and again. Instead of just enjoying their service, I thought I’d share them with you so you can enjoy some of the happiness as well.
Miller’s Lab – The link I posted is for their consumer division. They also have a professional division if you happen to be an incorporated photography company. They have extremely consistent quality on their photo printing, and offer Kodak Endura Metallic paper, which if you’ve never seen it before, is the most stunning photographic material I’ve ever seen. All of my photography customers get their photos printed on the stuff. They have never taken longer than 1 day to get my my order, and when you call, a real person answers the phone.
Dalmation Lab – There’s only one lab in the United States that can make a Fiber Silver Gelatin print from a digital file, and that’s Dalmation Lab. You provide them with an enhanced comp and a raw file, then their expert staff use your comp as reference and make the adjustments directly to the raw file on their calibrated system. So what you get is a perfect Silver Gelatin print suitable for museum display with a longevity of nearly 300 years. Their work is absolutely stunning – worth every penny.
B&H Photo – If you’ve ever bought camera equipment, you know that it’s a cutthroat industry. Most of the online vendors are within a couple bucks of each other, even on a $5,000 camera. Let me just say – if you find a deal online that’s WAY less than the others, believe me when I tell you it’s a scam. You will end up with gray market equipment (illegal imported) that has its menus in Swahili. There are literally only 3 legitimate online photographic equipment dealers: B&H Photo, Adorama, and Ritz Camera. The rest, without exception, are scam artists. B&H is the best of the three. Good service, knowledgeable staff, real people answer the phone, and there are a gazillion reviews on every item on their website.
Nikon USA – If you are a photography nut, you know that Nikon is the pinnacle of SLR technology. Others may come close (Canon & Olympus are both good), but none can rival the glass of a Nikon. Nikon USA has a very nice website. It includes full technical details on everything they’ve ever made, along with compatibility charts, online forum, and free firmware updates. I’ve asked Nikon technicians several questions over the years, and they get back to you with personalized answers within a few hours.
Hypertemplates – If you want to build a website on the cheap, you can purchase a design template from these guys for about $60. They provide you with all of the raw art, HTML files, Flash (where applicable), fonts, clipart, etc. There are many template websites out there, but these guys have the best selection and the fastest turnaround on your order. A lot of the other sites put you through an annoying ritual every time you order a template – I’m not a fan of wasting time.
Namerocket – When you need to register a domain name, this is the site to use. Why, you ask? I have used about 50 different registrars in my lifetime. I am even an authorized reseller for a different one. Yet, when I need a domain set up in a hurry, I still use my Namerocket account. The reason is they resolve INSTANTLY. By which I mean, the moment I put in the nameservers, the site appears at the domain. Try that on any other registrar…. it takes at least 6 hours and usually 24 hours to resolve. I don’t know how they do it, but they do it.
Jex Analytics – This is Judd’s web business. He specializes in SEO and Analytics, but that’s not what he usually does for me. He is the ultimate WordPress guru. He has written tons of custom WordPress code for me. He knows how to write plugins, themes, etc. And he rocks it out in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of other developers. Besides, he’s super cool.
Ken Rockwell – This is my one-stop resource for photography equipment reviews. He is a pragmatist, and will tell you that the $5,000 camera is no better than the $800 camera if he believes it to be true. He has also written some great quick start manuals for Nikon digital SLRs which I find quite helpful (and which are free to download).
Webmonkey – This is where I go when I have a brain freeze and can’t remember how to write css… They have all of the basics for writing HTML, CSS, web color codes, etc. When I need to pick a good color for a website, I go check out their hexadecimal color codes page.
WordPress – When my IHS customers send me emails about how they’ve creatively managed to break their websites, this is the first place I go. The support forums are extremely helpful and most problems that my customers encounter have already been discussed in great detail at this website. It’s all community run – there are no staff members. Just one person helping another. Which is super neato.
Anyhow, I hope that you find something useful in all of these links. I know they’ve saved me lots of headaches over the years.