By MARY KAY STEIN, SEP’s Action News
An exterior shot of the Glossy Finish TrailerFor Haim Ariav, founder of Glossy Finish Inc. in Ponte Vedra, FL, a background in fine art photography, web development and stock photography has led to a novel approach in covering action sports.
On a typical picture day for Glossy Finish, you might notice something a little different. Yes, there are photographers, but where is the tent where you place your order? There is no tent. Instead, there is a 32-foot, fully equipped trailer housing a state-of-the-art digital photo studio.
Ariav, a 1985 graduate of Brooks Institute, was a fashion photographer in New York, Milan and Paris. After working abroad for a while, he came back to New York and took editorial and advertising assignments with companies such as Revlon and Estée Lauder. As the Internet Age gained speed in the mid 1990s, Ariav developed a Web site development company, Muffin-Head Productions, to keep up with his clients’ interactive needs. He would sell the company in 1998, moving into a creative director role for three years until he left to help start a21, a digital content marketplace for the creative community. a21 would eventually become the parent company of several image-based operations, including SuperStock.
In June 2004, Ariav moved to Ponte Vedra, FL. After seeing the so-so photographs that his children brought home from their sports league picture days, he came up with the idea for a new sports photo business, Glossy Finish. His goal was to produce a better method for photographing youth sports, something that went beyond the overly posed group shots and amateur images captured by other parents.
So Ariav created Glossy Finish to be a full-service, on-location sports photography operation. Glossy Finish uses a network of freelance photographers to capture action photos as well as team and individual portraits. All images are immediately processed and displayed in the digital photo trailer, which acts as a mobile retail store. Parents can view images on a bank of computer monitors, make orders and walk away with prints. Everything is self contained and everything is sold on spec. It costs leagues and organizers nothing to have Glossy Finish photograph an event.
A relatively new member of SEP, Ariav enjoys the open communication of the society, especially on the online message boards. “It’s important for photographers to share their knowledge about what works and what doesn’t work,” he says.
What’s ahead? Ariav is now weighing the benefits of franchising or keeping the corporate structure but developing his company in different parts of the country.