Tag Archives: Doug Cohen

When Should You Promote A Facebook Post? Part 2 – Results

Last month we wrote a piece about when to promote a facebook post which included a case study, and we mentioned that we would post a follow up with the results.

Facebook Results

For starters let’s just say the results were…..  successful to a degree but also a little mixed and confusing.  We spent $15 and it did seem to reach a lot of people.  From that standpoint we feel like we got what we paid for, but there are plenty of discrepancies in the numbers.  Sure there is a chance I’m just not understanding them completely but I think I’m a bright guy and if I can’t figure them out then I’m guessing I’m not the only one.  The engagement level was not quite what I’d expected either but I think there is a learning opportunity there.

Total Reach

Total Facebook Reach

First let’s look purely at the number of people the post reached.  Above is the graph that breaks it down into three categories.  When we selected the $15 dollar (highest) option it indicated that the reach we were paying for would be in the 2.5k – 3.5k range.  When I hover my cursor over each category the organic (people who like the page and either clicked on it themselves or had it appear in their news feed before I started the promotion) shows 372, the paid shows 1637, and the viral (people who saw it as a result of a friend liking, commenting on, or sharing the post) shows 76.  By my math that adds up to 2085 – not 1894 and still way short of the estimate I was given.   However….

Facebook Total Promotion Details

They also provide a promotion summary where I’m told that the paid reach of the post is 3215.  Uh…. okay….  so which is it?  1637 or 3215?  If 3215 is the number then I’m pleased with the reach.  We had about 940 people following our page at the time and we promoted this to our followers and their friends so if $15 bought me 3215 people seeing this post I’m good with that.  Side note: I have since found out from a friend who manages a page with a much larger following than ours that it would cost them much more to promote a post – facebook charges considerably more to a page with 100,000 followers than they do to a page with 1000  – like hundreds of dollars instead of $15.


So far we’ve looked at the pure mass numbers of people reached.  Now let’s dig into how the people who saw the post responded to it.  First we’ll look at engaged users:

Engaged facebook users for a promoted post

There were 33 engaged users (number of unique people who clicked on the post), 50 other clicks, so there were people in that group of 33 who came back to the post and clicked on it more than once.  There were 10 link clicks – this was a little disappointing since I thought that the thumbnail of the damaged photo of the tent in Vietnam would compel people to check out the link.  14 stories were generated (likes, comments, shares) and only 3 out of thousands hid the link (negative feedback) which is nice – it didn’t turn people off.  Overall not huge numbers of engagement.  This also doesn’t tell me what kind of collective impact the post had by showing up in thousands of news feeds, but I suspect that there was some impact that I can’t measure immediately.  We don’t typically advertise and I’m not an expert in open / click through rates etc. but I do know that when I promoted this our engagement level was over 1.5% and it ended up at .63%  When I promoted the post it had met the criteria for Jay Baer’s STIR strategy for when to promote a post which includes waiting 6 hours to promote and only if the post has over 1% engagement.  I may raise that to 3% going forward especially if it proves to be true that there will be a natural drop off in the percentage engagement once you send it out to people who may not be familiar with your brand.  The last graph of data they give you is the break down of the “stories generated” or people “talking about this”:

Facebook pie chart showing stats for a promoted post

11 likes (even though the earlier summary says 14), 2 comments, and 1 share.  I think it’s great when someone shares a post because the post then reaches a whole new audience.  One share isn’t much, but it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.


So as I mentioned before I would say the results on this one were mixed.  The confusing numbers are a little troubling – even if it’s only $15 dollars I at least want accurate numbers.  Facebook is a public company now and these tools are part of the ways they are trying to generate revenue to show Wall Street they can be profitable, but they should clean up the data if this is so critical to their future.  As for whether we would promote again?  I would say yes but still very selectively.  This one while not a complete flop was not a home run but that’s okay – they aren’t all going to be home runs.  That’s on us to make sure we learn what content has the most value and appeal for our followers.

Have you paid to sponsor or promote a facebook post?  What kind of results have you seen?

The Frameable Faces 2013 Campus Tour Continues at U of M!!!

And so the campus tour rolled along…  this time into Ann Arbor to see a couple of our favorite Frameable Wolverines!  The cold front was just moving in and the weather was bitter cold but we didn’t let that stop the fun……or the FOOD!  Shocking we know….    🙂

The Frameable Faces Campus Tour checks in at Pizza House!

The Frameable Faces Campus Tour checks in at Pizza House!

Nicole and Cheyenne met us at Pizza House – one of the most popular spots on campus and home of the best chipatis you’ll find anywhere.  A chipati is a yummy salad wrapped in yummy and warm chipati bread served with chipati sauce.  The pizza and garlic bread rocks as well – actually pretty much everything is good at Pizza House…  It was a historic MLK day with this year marking the 50th anniversary of the “I Have A Dream” speech and it was also inauguration day.  The girls didn’t have classes and we were able to relax and catch up for a couple hours in the late afternoon for an early dinner.

Pizza and Chipati

Chicago style deep dish pizza and a chipati! Mmmmm....

Ally and the Frameable Wolverines

Ally and a couple of her favorite Frameable Wolverines!

Doug with Nicole and Cheyenne

Doug with Nicole and Cheyenne

In keeping with the theme established in East Lansing, we took a stroll over to Insomnia Cookies for dessert…  and we can only say that it’s a good thing there isn’t one of these in West Bloomfield.  It’s dangerous enough with a Just Baked right across the street from the studio (YUM), but late night cookie delivery could be a big problem.  🙂

Insomnia Cookies

Yet again at Insomnia Cookies.... So goood...

Another fun trip with two of our Frameables who are also responsible for two of our greatest images ever – Nicole standing in the water with the beautiful orange sunset many of you have seen and the stunning image of Cheyenne printed on the big beautiful plexiglass which still hangs in the studio.  We love our Frameable Seniors and we love to share in their successes as they enjoy their college experience!

When Should You Promote A Facebook Post? A Case Study

This is really a follow up post to “Restoring History” which focused on photo restoration.  Here is a little social media strategy discussion – as of this writing the strategy for the “Restoring History” post is in a test mode as we speak, and hopefully we can get some results we can learn from as we go along….

Promoting Posts on Facebook

The Option To Promote A Facebook Post

For those who may not know, Facebook rolled out a new tool a few months ago where you can pay to promote your status updates so that they will reach more users.  They also changed their algorithms so that posts don’t automatically reach as many folks as they used to without paying.  If you post something that people love, comment and share then you can still get good results but it’s not a gimme like it was before.  Many people became very upset about this when they saw their reach suddenly dwindle unannounced.  I’ve written in the past about staying the course and not freaking out about it – in a way it’s a good thing because now boring lame content doesn’t get the free ride it used to get and good content that is useful and interesting still gets rewarded.  Meanwhile if you want to give your content a boost you can pay to have it promoted.

Facebook Tool for Promoting Posts

Identifying A Guru For Some Guidance

Jay Baer is a social media strategist and author whom I follow and he posted a great article with the criteria he uses for determining How To Know When To Promote A Facebook Post back on 10/27/12.  If you manage a facebook business page it’s worth reading and bookmarking.  In short he discusses a 4 part “STIR” criteria that includes a waiting period to figure out first if your post is engagement worthy on its own, and the suggestion to promote a post that has a link to click on or some call to action.

Other Factors To Consider

Before yesterday we only promoted twice.  Each time we did the minimum level and we only promoted to people who already like our page.  There is also the option of promoting to people who like your page and their friends.  Depending on your product, your overall Facebook strategy, and the post you are promoting there are a few factors to consider in addition to “STIR” when promoting:

  1. Organic vs. paid approach.  We’ve been fiercely committed to earning Facebook likes one at a time without gimmicks to inflate our numbers.  We want our content to be entertaining and useful.  Being “salesy” is spammy and boring.  We want people to like our page because it’s likeable – not because we beg for it or flood their news feeds (they’ll shut us off if we do that anyway).  Too many promoted posts can threaten that aesthetic which is why we had only done it twice before.
  2. First impression if you go outside your likes.  If you promote a post to your likes and their friends keep in mind that this post may be for many their first exposure to your brand.  Is this post focused on a topic that is more tightly focused on current clients?  Make sure the post serves as a good first impression and consider whether it has broad appeal.
  3. Geography and goal of the post.  Make sure you are going to get the proper bang for your buck.  If you are a local business that can only serve local clients then you may want to be careful about promoting to your likes and their friends.  You may spend money reaching too many folks who are out of state and may never be your client.  Then again word of mouth can travel out of state and then back into your neighborhood from afar so it’s not that black and white, but just be sure to consider what are you trying to accomplish with the additional exposure you are paying for.

The Case Study

So we’ll let you in on the strategy we used yesterday when we promoted the post “Restoring History”.  We did the maximum amount with the option of promoting to our likes and their friends for a three day period.  First off the post met all 4 of Jay Baer’s STIR criteria before we promoted it.  We also considered the 3 additional factors outlined above:

  1. Even though it’s a promoted post which by definition isn’t exactly an organic approach, we feel it is interesting and useful content which keeps with the spirit of how we attract folks to our page.  I’m not promoting a BIG SALE! or running a cheesy contest to just gain empty likes.  If people follow us as a result they’ll likely do it because they appreciate the content – it will expose them to our blog and maybe they’ll see there is real value here.  Like we mentioned before, we do NOT promote often and that won’t change.
  2. Even though photo restoration is NOT our core business by any means, I don’t mind this post creating a first impression of our studio to people who don’t know us.  It’s a thoughtful post that will show we have something worthwhile to say and we think it has broad appeal.  Not a bad way to discover Frameable Faces.
  3. This is one service and maybe the ONLY service that we offer that we can offer to people out of state without them ever visiting our studio.  While I don’t anticipate a ton of out of state photo restoration business, in theory as long as someone can scan the damaged photo and send it to us we can do the rest – have it restored, print it, ship it.  Therefore if going outside of our likes takes us out of our local geography here and there in the process that’s okay.

We will post an update to share the results good and bad.  Let us know if you’ve had experiences with promoted posts and if you have anything to add!

Dear Detroit, You Are Awesome. Love, Frameable Faces

Dear Detroit You Are Awesome

Image courtesy of www.DetroitApparelFactory.com

We have traveled all around the country and there are a lot of cities we love.  My family is originally from New York and I love it there.  I love the big city and it really is an incredible place – endless things to do, see and eat.  We love Chicago – we have close friends there and it’s a short drive – a ton to do there too.  We love D.C. with its monuments and history.  Atlanta and Philly are great cities.  San Fran and L.A. are amazing.  Dallas is very cool and so is Cleveland.  Cincinnati is great – awesome chili, ice cream and ribs.  We love Virginia Beach and we have family there.  We also love South Florida and we have family and friends there all over – all the way down to the Keys – stone crab and key lime pie!  We like Nashville, Houston, Tampa, Oklahoma City, Santa Fe, Jacksonville, Columbus, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Vegas, San Antonio and Atlantic City.  We appreciate the smaller cities and college campuses we’ve visited like Madison, Dayton, State College, Hattiesburg, Cedar Rapids, Pensacola, Oxford, Syracuse, Vail, Taos, Morgantown, Annapolis, Richmond, the list goes on…

We love our National Parks.  We love visiting battlefields, President’s homes, mountains and sand dunes.  We love Skyline Drive, the Rockies, and the Natchez Trace.  We want to explore the Northeast, the West and the Northwest.  We have not yet been to Mount Rushmore, The Badlands, Big Sur, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon or Hawaii.  We have much more we want to see.

Dear Detroit You Are Awesome…


Here’s the thing.  As wonderful and awesome as all those places are, we still love Detroit and the surrounding Metro area the most.  Why is that?  It’s not easy to explain to those who don’t live here.  There are plenty of specific things we love of course.  The food is fantastic – Lafayette Coney Island, Mexican Town and Greektown, the best Middle Eastern food, plenty of good Indian and deli, some great chop houses, amazing breakfast options all over the suburbs in West Bloomfield, Birmingham, Royal Oak, and Ferndale, Polish food in Hamtramck – and on and on.  Lots of cool places to hang out as well in the aforementioned towns.  Lots of diversity.  There are world class museums in Detroit and there is a music history here like few other places on Earth.  Of course there is also an awesome sports tradition here.  Ann Arbor is pretty close as well, an incredible college town.Detroit skyline

On paper does Detroit stack up to the other cities?  That really isn’t the point.  The point is Detroit is where we’re from.  Detroit is where we have our studio Frameable Faces Photography (West Bloomfield to be exact).  Detroit is an underdog.  Detroit has been kicked and punched and Detroit has punched back.  Detroit rocks.  Detroit is home.  So Detroit, WE LOVE YOU AND WE ARE NOT LEAVING YOU.


Doug and Ally Cohen

Frameable Faces Photography

Frameable Faces Photography
Frameable Faces Photography is a small biz retail mom & pop shop of Doug&Ally Cohen located in the Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield, Michigan, United States Of America!
Ally & Doug can be reached at the studio at tel:248-790-7317 or emailed at mailto:info@frameablefaces.com
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Facebook: http://facebook.com/frameablefaces
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Being “Frameable” is an attitude, a community, a way of life – a life you would want to celebrate and display on your walls for all to see!  Tell us… ARE YOU FRAMEABLE?
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“Life Began” With Facebook And Today Is My 5th Birthday!


October 3rd, 2007.  A glorious day – it was the day I came into the world………of facebook. That makes today my 5th birthday and I am celebrating with this blog post.  Facebook wasn’t my first exposure to social media but it was the site that changed everything for sure.  Taking a little trip down memory lane I was able to see the days I became friends with my best friends from my previous uninformed, boring, non-connected life.  The early days of facebook were truly baby steps for me – I didn’t have much of a filter, I started status updates with verbs as if my profile name of “Doug Cohen” had to be the beginning of my sentence.  I did that for over a year – like this pearl of wisdom from 11/25/08:


Doug's facebook status from 11/25/08

Groundbreaking huh?

Traveling right along, today I relived two of the best moments of my life.  On 12/16/09 my daughter who was 10 at the time made the winning basket in overtime to win in the championship game of her basketball league.  I’ll never forget that moment and how excited she was and on 6/16/11 my son who was 9 at the time got his first two hits of the little league season after struggling quite a bit up until that point.  I’ll never forget the smile on his face that evening and afterwards he was awarded “player of the game”.  I see a couple of anniversary wishes from Ally and I to each other here and there and many other milestones, images and memories along the way.

As for Frameable Faces, we had a couple “groups” for a while but when the business profiles/pages were released we moved over to that format and the main Frameable Faces page was born on March 12, 2010…..

Frameable Faces Photography, Facebook, Social Media

……. and its younger sibling, the Frameable Faces for Seniors! page was born 4 days later on March 16:

Frameable Faces for Seniors!

We have used facebook to expand our reach and build relationships as a studio, and personally we have used it to share good times (and bad) with friends and family.  We’ve shouted out for some shoveling help when we were snowed in and had someone show up at our door in 10 minutes. We’ve told jokes, argued, debated, learned and even watched the children of our friends grow up.  We’ve made new friends and rekindled relationships with old ones.  It’s been a remarkable 5 years.  What about you?  Take some time to look through your timeline and see what you find.  When did life begin on facebook for you?  Tell us in the comments below!

When You Fell Did You Get Back Up? Our Top 8 Wipeouts

Top 8 wipeoutsThis post really has nothing to do with photography, but there might be a life lesson in here somewhere by the time you are done laughing at us.  I poke fun at Ally for being a clutz but I’ve had a few good spills myself over the years.  So here we go with our top 8 wipeouts in no particular order (even though I saved the best for last – don’t cheat)….

Our Top 8 Wipeouts…

  1. Doug vs. his shoelaces.  This goes back to the summer of 1987 while playing high school football for North Farmington against Detroit Denby in a summer 7-on-7 tournament at Wayne State University.  Summer 7-on-7 tournaments are non-contact – no pads and no tackling.  I went across the middle for a pass and got hit hard by one of their linebackers.  I got up and squared off with him and all eyes were on us.  “What the H was that?” I yelled.  “So maybe I tripped” he said.  We stared each other down for a second – suburban kid vs. city kid, and then I turned to walk away…. and tripped on my shoelace and fell flat on my face.
  2. Ally shows her graceful side on the honeymoon.  Ally and I got married in 1996 and went first to Disney for 4 days and then on a week long cruise.  We were dressed to the nines for the formal dinner when Ally pulled a spectacular faceplant just outside of the dining room in front of about 100 people.  She survived and we laughed our butts off.
  3. Doug decides not to be outdone on the honeymoon.  I believe the story went something like this…  We were on our way to the tender to take us to the island from the ship when I realized I forgot something at the room.  I went back to get it while Ally waited only to find out I went the wrong way and ended up at the wrong end of the ship.  Not wanting to miss the boat (literally) I sprinted down the hallway of the ship in flip flops which I can now tell you is dumb.  My flip flop got caught and I went flying – I saved my fall by instinctively grabbing on to the rail and I sliced my right hand in the process.  When I finally got back to Ally my hand was covered in blood.  I still have a pretty nice scar from that one….
  4. Ally vs. a Bosu ball. This happened in the summer of 2012.  Three weeks before our daughter’s bat mitzvah Ally was working out and fell off of a bosu ball chipping a bone in her foot.  Luckily she was able to get away with wearing a bootTop 8 wipeouts
    Top 8 wipeouts

    Bosu ball

    Bosu ballfor a couple weeks and she was good to go for the bat mitzvah.  It wasn’t easy though – especially when we found ourselves deeper into a forest than we planned for a senior photo shoot and that hike was pretty tough on Ally in her boot with a still freshly broken ankle….  what a trooper!

  5. Doug “leads” the team through the hoop. As I am fond of pointing out (with love of course) Ally has never “saved” a potential fall in her life.  If she trips at all she’s on the ground.  As with my own honeymoon wipeout this was another one I “saved” but it was no less embarrassing.  For this one we go back to high school for our opening football game on September 5th (my 17th birthday)…  It was at Southfield Lathrup and I was a captain of the team so I led the team out onto the field and through the big paper hoop the cheerleaders had made for us to bust through.  However the girls didn’t notice that they were holding the hoop right over the edge of the paved high jump pit and I stepped right on the edge which sent me stumbling for about 7 steps through the hoop.
    Top 8 wipeouts

    Doug gets a sack

    I’m sure our opponents were very intimidated….  We still won though 17-7 and I even though I had an unfortunate fumble I did still have two sacks.  Here’s a picture of one of the sacks (I’m #31 in white).

  6. Ally on the sidewalk.  Ally was strolling along one winter day in front of the student union while she was in college at Michigan State when she went down hard on her butt on a patch of ice as she was saying hello to someone on the sidewalk.  Ally tried to play it off with her “cute little outfit on and cute little boots” as she tells it, but she was definitely a little embarrassed.
  7. Doug on the driveway.  Ice strikes again…  I slipped on a patch of ice on the driveway maybe about 6 years ago or so.  Legs went straight out and I landed hard on my butt – to the point where I was pretty sure I broke my tailbone.  It was bad enough that I went to the doctor for x-rays but there was no break.  I was sore for a couple days but no major injury.
  8. “Mmmmmm Strawberries”.  This is really the most epic of all of them.  We were up North spending a weekend with friends at their house in Boyne City.  We were hanging out on their dock on Lake Charlevoix when my buddy’s mom brought some fresh strawberries down.  It was a beautiful day and Ally was enjoying a perfect moment with her strawberries when the back leg of her chair slipped off the edge of the dock sending her head over heels and crashing upside down into the water about 5 feet below.  She survived that one without a scratch, but that was definitely one of the most intense moments of pure chaos I’ve witnessed.  Absolutely gut-busting hilarious.

There you have it.  The top 8 wipeouts.  I kept it to 8 in order to keep it even – I could have mentioned Ally’s dive on her first senior session or her tumble into a couple bikes at spinning class, but that wouldn’t be fair.  Hehe…

The point of course is that this post is a metaphor for life.  We all fall from time to time.  Life is not about whether you fall.  You will.  It’s about whether you get up, and hopefully you can laugh at yourself a little and enjoy the whole experience along the way.  What was your best wipeout?  Share it in the comments!

Frameable Faces Photography
Frameable Faces Photography is a small biz retail mom & pop shop of Doug&Ally Cohen located in the Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield, Michigan, United States Of America!
Ally & Doug can be reached at the studio at tel:248-790-7317 or emailed at mailto:info@frameablefaces.com
Snapchat: http://snapchat.com/add/frameablefaces
Facebook: http://facebook.com/frameablefaces
Twitter: https://twitter.com/frameablefaces
YouTube: https://youtube.com/frameablefaces
Instagram: https://instagram.com/frameablefaces
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/frameablefaces
Being “Frameable” is an attitude, a community, a way of life – a life you would want to celebrate and display on your walls for all to see!  Tell us… ARE YOU FRAMEABLE?
Join the Frameable Faces Community – sign up for our email newsletter for the best of the week in the Frameable Faces World!  Click here!


The 6 Best Photography Blogs on the Web

I spend a lot of time blogging and reading blogs and I want to highlight the photography The 6 Best Photography Blogsblogs which I enjoy and/or learn the most from so you can bookmark them whether you are a professional photographer, a hobbyist, or just an enjoyist.  Yes I think it’s fun to make up the occasional word now and then…. after all, I still want to make sure you have good organic reasons to visit our blog.

Without further adieu and in no particular order…

  1. Photofocus.  This is Scott Bourne’s online magazine (they don’t consider themselves a blog per se which means they focus on creating content and do not allow comments on the site).  Ally and I were first exposed to Scott when we saw him speak in Nashville at Imaging USA (a huge photography convention) a couple years ago.  What impressed us about Scott was that unlike most of the speakers there he didn’t have anything to sell in his presentation.  He just imparts knowledge and there is a lot of good information at Photofocus from new product reviews, info on the industry, stunning images (he has done some amazing wildlife work), and tips and inspiration.  Highly recommended.
  2. Rosh Sillars.  Rosh is based here in Michigan and his blog has become a go to for me for great information on the photography business.  Lots of great info on social media for studios with practical tips and ideas.
  3. Hair Of The Dog.  The Hair Of The Dog Blog is pretty much guaranteed to make you smile.  Centered on pet photography, the “Session Spotlights” are awesome – such fun images of pets – dogs flying through the air with their tongues out – even the occasional mouse.  We love to photograph pets here at Frameable Faces and we get a lot of inspiration from this site.
  4. The Collective.  This blog is run by Andy Bondurant and focuses on photography, business, and life in general.  His wife Kia is a photographer as well and she contributes to the blog along with many other voices from around the industry.  I’ve guest posted on this blog before and I’ve learned a lot here.  Andy and I even debated on a topic with a point/counterpoint before and I think I even almost got him to see my side (haha).  The Collective pretty much became my Instagram manual once I upgraded to a Droid.
  5. PetaPixel.  I love this site.  Described as “a blog about photography geared towards tech-savvy photo-enthusiasts” there is much to enjoy here.  You will find a lot of incredible images here as well as plenty of industry news and photography tips.
  6. MCP Actions.  This blog is run by Jodi Friedman who is based locally in Metro Detroit.  The primary focus here is Photoshop actions and workshops and if you use Photoshop and/or Lightroom you need to bookmark this site now.  The blog is not limited to photo editing however, with plenty of other topics covered and I have had the honor of guest posting here twice.  The first time included the debate between Andy Bondurant and me in the comments which I referred to above!

So there you have it – my top 6.  We are always looking for recommendations for other blogs – please share with us!  What are your favorites?

Human Stories, Life Preservers, and Doug’s Journey

Blog posts are supposed to be short and sweet but I have a bunch of thoughts and this one will be a little longer…

Last week I had the experience of interviewing an elderly lady for her nieces who wanted to preserve her life story for future generations.  What an incredible experience that was.  It was incredible for me for many reasons.  For starters I felt what I was doing was really important and humbling.  This lady no longer has all her faculties completely intact, so while this was a case where I’m not sure she assigned a lot of weight to the idea of telling her story, she still enjoyed herself and I felt she rose to the occasion.  I was very patient with her – I knew that the camera and the lighting and all the equipment may have made her nervous and I wanted her to be as comfortable as possible.  She talked about living on a farm in Ohio during the time of the Great Depression.  She talked about her parents and her siblings who are all gone now, travel by horse and carriage, and her dad being a veterinarian and treating mostly horses.  When I left I felt really thankful.  This has finally been a dream fulfilled for me that started about 14 years ago…


I’m a pretty passionate and yes, emotional guy and I feel the full experience of life.  I spend more time upset then I should and I know that.  I have plenty of highs and lows.  The weird thing for me though is that even though I get mad at the world and the people who inhabit it frequently, I am still fascinated by people just the same.  You might say I have a complicated relationship with the human race.  I’ve always been a student of people in many ways.


I became fascinated with history in high school and I credit that to Jerry Maxwell – he was my history teacher at North Farmington High School and the best teacher I had at any level.  He inspired me to seek out knowledge about events that have unfolded throughout history and the players involved.  He didn’t just teach dates and facts, he taught about people – what made them tick, their idiosyncrasies, their life stories.  He made the people come to life and I was always impressed by the narrative of the lives of people who changed the course of history.  It is that human experience that makes history come alive.


When I moved on to college I was unsure of what I wanted to major in until I took a course in Psychology.  It was right up my alley – getting into the human psyche and understanding how the mind works, what drives people.  I didn’t pursue a career in Psychology, but I’ve always been in the people business even when I was living a miserable existence in corporate America.  Being in sales is being in the study of people more than anything.  Yes you have to know your products, the competition, the market conditions etc. but most importantly you have to understand and relate to people.

Corporate America – A Low.

The dark side of working in corporate sales put me in a position where I had to use my people skills to detect and survive a lot of hidden agendas.  Politics.  Incompetence.  Insecurity.  Backstabbing.  Unfair competition.  That wears on you after a while…  It seemed people were always getting promoted because they were friendly with (or sucked up to) the upper management.  Upper management would promote someone weak because they would see someone too strong underneath them as being a threat.

Corporate Misery

Smiling through it in a suit and tie in my cubicle at T-Mobile

I sometimes wonder how corporations actually function at all when I’ve witnessed first hand how completely DYSfunctional they are.  Against this backdrop I then had to go out to the marketplace and try to aggressively sell a product to prospective clients I didn’t know and who weren’t interested, often times with a product I barely believed in at best.  I got pretty good at being able to play these games while doing whatever I could to keep my integrity intact and luckily I met a very small handful of good people along the way who I could actually trust and helped me through it.  I stay in touch with those few and I’m eternally grateful and loyal to them.  Think Morgan Freeman’s character “Red” and Tim Robbins’ “Andy Dufresne” in The Shawshank Redemption.  Having a friend you can trust while you’re on the inside is a gift.

An Idea.

Meanwhile I dreamed and yearned for more…  I had creative idea after creative idea – a peanut butter and jelly sandwich shop, a restaurant with no menu, a coffee table book about candy bars, others I can’t remember.  I was wearing down on cold calling, selling whatever widget the company I worked for was pushing and often being held to unrealistic quotas.  I dreamed of the day when I could help people with a product that people would actually come to me for.  Something that was mine.  Something I believed in.  One night in 1998 the idea came to me at Rick’s American Cafe in Ann Arbor of all places.  It was the idea of telling stories – of having someone sit down in front of a video camera and tell the story of their life.  I’m not sure where the idea came from – a cool romantic explanation would be that maybe Ally was pregnant with our first who was to be named after my grandfather who passed away in 1987.  Maybe I knew I would be naming her for him and I was wishing I had a way to introduce her to him.  A video of him being himself, telling jokes, telling his story…

Life Preservers by Frameable Faces Photography, Frameable Faces, Personal Video, Legacy Video

My original Life Preservers business card circa 1998-ish!

Now truthfully that’s not the way the inspiration came.  I’m not exactly sure how it popped into my head at that moment, but wherever it came from I knew that was it.  Something meaningful, something important, something that would enhance people’s lives and help them be remembered the way they deserved to be.  I put together a business plan, a logo, got an 800 number (remember this was 1998), printed business cards and I had an old schoolmate who was a videographer on board.  We made a demo and then…. not much else.  For various reasons it didn’t work out.  My partner didn’t have the vision for it at the time.  The dream got shelved, but it never completely died.  It was painful though – people would ask me from time to time “Doug whatever happened to your video idea?  I thought that was a great idea you had” and it would really sting.  I would feel pangs of guilt for letting myself down, anger for being stuck working for a big company worried about my job security, and not being excited for the future.  Dying a little more inside.


Eventually Ally started taking her photography more and more seriously, and she started building it on the side.  The economy got worse and my last corporate job with T-Mobile was going down the tubes – my accounts were mostly automotive and many of them were dealing with bankruptcy, layoffs, and purchasing freezes in 2008-09 when the bank and auto bailouts happened.  Eventually after a year or so of dismal sales T-Mobile let me go.  I was an auto casualty even though I didn’t work for an auto company.

Frameable Faces – A Rescue.

Ally convinced me not to look for yet another corporate job and join her to open the Frameable Faces studio and make it our family business.  It was a great decision.  My creative juices started flowing again.  I had clients I could have real relationships with.  No cold calling.  We had a great product (Ally is a fantastic photographer) and we could do whatever we felt was needed to make it better without getting approval from anyone.


I have thoroughly enjoyed this.  I’m having a blast blogging and building relationships online and consulting on the side for social media.  I’m even singing in a rock band!  This has all been great……   and now it’s time to add another piece to complete the puzzle.  One that’s been a long time coming.

Full Circle.

Life Preservers is back.  For You and Your Children’s Children.  I have a solid team in place for the first time to do this important and rewarding work.  A team of like-minded and talented people who are excited and believe in this.  We are helping people tell their stories in their own words, and when I walked out of that apartment last week at the end of that interview I was smiling ear to ear.