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Snap-happy Featured

11:15am EDT January 24, 2005
If terms like SD memory, compact flash card, XGA and VGA have caused your technologically-challenged employees to shove the office digital camera in a back drawer in the hope that film will become fashionable again, maybe it's time to offer them a digital camera seminar.

Visconsi Companies Ltd. in Pepper Pike recently hired veteran Cleveland photographer Marc Golub to teach a class on taking, making and storing digital images. The two-hour seminar last fall was attended by 15 employees, including members of the development company's construction, operations and marketing departments.

The company, which manages and leases its own properties, has a portfolio of approximately 2.8 million square feet of retail space, including managed properties, properties in development and nearly 40 Walgreens drugstore projects.

"We find ourselves using our digital camera more and more -- whether it's for inspection of properties or the use of digital photos in conjunction with promotional materials," says Dominic Visconsi Jr. "More and more, people in the office have been using the camera without a lot of knowledge of digital photo technology."

Visconsi serves as co-CEO and third-generation owner with his brother, Anthoni II. Their father, Dominic, was a co-founder of Visconsi, Meade & Jacobs Co., now known as The Richard E. Jacobs Group.

Their late grandfather Anthoni, who helped pioneer the concept of community shopping centers and regional malls, "would definitely be in favor of providing everyone with as many tools as possible to perform their jobs better," Visconsi says.

He says digital cameras come in handy for his construction department, which often uses them during the construction process.

"They'll take photographs to then pass on to the rest of the members of their department or the company to monitor construction progress," he says.

The operations department uses digital cameras during the inspection of completed properties managed by the company, and the marketing department uses photographs to enhance the company's Web site. Training seminars such as the one offered for digital camera use can be a valuable tool and are not uncommon at the company, Visconsi says.

"The feedback was that (the employees) think we're going to be able to improve those photos. Basically, I think some people were taking photos in a mode where they were not using the highest resolution possible," he says.

"That was one of the basic principles that they learned about the camera and the technology was to always use the highest resolution and not worry about the storage space required for an image with the highest resolution."

He expects that using the technology will save the company money when it comes to the production of marketing materials, as newsletters, marketing brochures and the company Web site are all done in-house. "We wouldn't be producing them in-house if we couldn't produce them at a high-enough quality or a quality that we feel is equal to what could be done out-of-house," Visconsi says.

HOW TO REACH:

Visconsi Companies Ltd., (216) 464-5550 or www.visconsi.com; Photography and Digital Services By Marc Golub Inc., (216) 752-8008 or www.photogmarc.com

Point-and-shoot

The act of taking rolls of film to the lab to be developed has gone the way of the dinosaur, thanks to digital cameras. But using these cameras in the most effective way can be a frustrating task for professionals who are unfamiliar with digital technology.

Dominic Visconsi Jr., co-CEO of Pepper Pike-based Visconsi Companies Ltd., says a company can achieve many benefits by encouraging its employees to take a class in digital camera technology.

* Elimination of the middle man. Among the employees participating in a recent digital photography seminar at the Visconsi office were members of the company's marketing department.

"It will increase the quality of our in-house production of marketing materials," Visconsi says, which will, in turn, allow the company to produce company newsletters and brochures in-house rather than hire an outside firm.

* Education equals empowerment. "It has speeded the process of the in-house production because people now have the knowledge they need to create the work without the need to ask questions," he says.

* Enhance of quality, not quantity. By learning how to use the cameras in the correct way, employees can enhance the quality of the photographs used on a company's Web site. Visconsi says his employees will be able to use the information they learned at the seminar to shoot photos of building projects that are under development as well as existing properties.

Ïthe extent that you can present a more attractive picture, it's going to probably stimulate interest in the project and locating within the project," he says.