Photography is a competitive industry. Making your photos stand out is a challenge. But one Vermont company is helping give photographers an edge -- LPA Design in South Burlington.
"You really need to be into photography and want to take your images to the next level to get into our system," said LPA's Dave Schmidt.
They make Pocket Wizard Radios. "It's simply a radio system. You have a radio on your camera, you have a radio on your flash or another camera and when you push a button your remotes go off, your flashes or other cameras go off," Schmidt said.
Pocket Wizards allow advanced lighting and photo shoots like this to happen. There are about half-a-dozen flashes on this set up. Without wires lying around, everything is wireless. You don't have to be next to your camera or flashes to take the picture.
"When you see those little blips of light at a basket ball game, those are flashes and the guys around the court taking the pictures are using our radios to do that," Schmidt said.
Their customers range from photography enthusiasts to the top professionals in the business. You might not realize the power of a flash, and think the images in magazines just naturally pop. But look closer -- it takes a lot of light.
With the digital photography world not slowing down, neither is this company. LPA Design officials would not release exact numbers, but say the company makes between 10 - 20 million dollars a year and continues to grow.
Reporter Gina Bullard: Would it be fair to say if you open a magazine and see a picture with a flash, it's probably a Pocket Wizard that did it?
Dave Schmidt: There's a pretty good chance, pretty safe bet. If you're shooting professional and getting published, that's the customer that understands our product.
In the South Burlington location there is everything from tech support -- where an average day means a sports illustrated photographer calling in, to design and engineering. The products are currently made in New York and New Hampshire. There is no Vermont company yet that makes the high tech products they need.
It's an ever changing industry. New cameras and flashes are always coming out and with each new model, Pocket Wizard Radios has to make its gear compatible. That means a lot of new Nikons and Cannons on the shelves for testing.
"When we've got a camera or new flash we have to figure out what's going on inside and reverse engineer so our gear is compatible with their gear," Schmidt said.
Currently they rule the industry -- wedding, sports, action, architecture -- all kinds of photographers around the globe use Pocket Wizards.
Reporter Gina Bullard: Are you worried about competition?
Dave Schmidt: Oh yeah, we're a made in the USA product. We compete with China every single day.
Not to mention that many cameras now have built in infra-red sensors to work with flash systems similar to how a Pocket Wizard works. But Schmidt says it's no match when it comes to quality. "We've broken limitations so you can use the camera in broad daylight or 1000 feet away. You can put our radios in place and it works much better than the embedded system in the camera," Schmidt said.
A Vermont company making sure when you capture a moment, it really shines.
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