As self described “creative control freaks”, DQ Studios, have created an ingenious way to speed up post processing without compromising quality! Motibodo is the brain-child of Dave & Quin Cheung sole owners and operators of DQ Studios (www.dqstudios.com). As photographers who capture people anywhere but mostly at weddings, they craved something/a tool that would satisfy their need to be able to personally retouch each and every image they created. Since they couldn’t find a tool to help them, they created one – Motibodo (www.motibodo.com) – A.K.A Espresso for workflow solutions. Dave & Quin have been shooting as DQ Studios since 2002 and started selling the predecessor of Motibodo (QuiKeys) in 2007. Take note peeps, follow what inspires you!
We’ve always been creative control freaks :) From our early days in the darkroom, we developed and printed our own B&W film for every client. When we switched to digital, it was a natural progression to continue to do all the post-processing to complete our vision. Of course the problem became time: it took us forever to retouch the hundreds of images we delivered to our very high standards!I was always on the lookout for the best retouching software and hardware. Unfortunately the one-button actions and other software tools available were [for us] either a huge compromise in the quality of imagery it produced or were too slow. Our goal was to speed up retouching time WITHOUT sacrificing quality.
Long story even longer: Years before falling in love with photography, I was a musician (piano/keyboard) and sound-recording Geek. In the musician’s creative world, your instrument is truly a hands-on tool. Whether it’s a keyboard, pedal board, wind instrument or automated fader mixing console, having total control – mastery – of your instrument is crucial to crafting your sound and musical expression. Similarly, as photographers we look for the right gear (cameras, lens, lights, stands etc) which help us most quickly and easily capture the images we want. When hardware gets out of the way, we can capture our vision with less friction. Sadly, after-capture, photographers have had to settle for so much less. I found it horribly limiting to rely on my mouse and esoteric hand-wretching keyboard shortcuts. And thus began the journey in creating a hands-on tool for image retouching mastery.
Think of it like this… switching from using just your software (Lightroom or Photoshop) to using it with Motibodo is like switching from handwriting with pen and paper to 2-hand touch-typing. It’s not only orders of magnitude faster, but less physically demanding and bonus, the finished product is more legible and flexible. Motibodo is so much more than just a one-button-push preset or action “look”. Instead of boxing you into the same-ness of presets and actions, it’s strength is in allowing you to finish your unique vision in the most efficient, ergonomic and seamless way possible.
Even if you are new to using Lightroom or Photoshop, a big part of Motibodo is not only the software and hardware, but the suite of private HD tutorials. So regardless if you’re new or a Lightroom/Photoshop pro, the tutorials are easy to digest and a great way to image retouching mastery. Having so tightly integrated the hardware and software, there’s nothing else that has the ease of use, ergonomics and speed of Motibodo. Even the way our software works is faster than other systems. Really … We’ve tested and compared :)
But what a road to get to this point… We definitely had a big “Is this worth it?” moment during the growth from QuiKeys to Motibodo. We had several issues at the time: QuiKeys name was being challenged in court (aka threat of being sued). Apple had also just released an OS update that “mistakenly” killed USB peripherals (including our hardware). To make matters worse, my coders couldn’t figure out how to update our software for compatibility with a recent Windows update.
Not being a coder or hardware maker left me at the mercy of those I hired and when we hit multiple brick walls, it was many a sleepless night to decide whether to close up shop or start from scratch. We made the hard decision to start from scratch adn built a new team from the ground up and couldn’t be more proud of the outcome: Motibodo. [It was a huge decision to make – whether to move forward- as] we originally never created it [Motibodo] to sell – only to solve our own in-house retouching woes.
The only reason other photographers saw our prototype was because we were shooting a live-wedding at a photography convention in Vegas (Early days of DWF!). After our shoot, we were retouching images using our Motibodo prototype. People who saw us fly through our image retouching processes were wowed not only at the speed but the final results and asked where they could buy it. Since then, the feedback has been amazing on many levels.
We’ve heard from people with carpel tunnel who found Motibodo’s ergonomic approach a God-send. For our Photoshop users, knowing tools like dodging and burning, effects and actions are non-destructive gives them freedom to experiment with their image with the reassurance of non-destructive layering. When people have to retouch without Motibodo it’s like tying a hand behind your back while shooting. We’re a community of Motibodo addicts … In a good way :) It’s been beyond my imagination to be able to help people not only in their imagery and time management, but to improve their health and give them time to spend on things that matter to them most. Things like:
- Saving more time
- Crafting better images
- Making more money
- Better ergonomics for better health and longevity of career
- Having more time to spend where you want it (family, friends etc).
are just some of the reasons it [Motibodo] exists and why Motibodo users are a really, really happy bunch. Because life is always give and take, we definitely sacrificed parts of it while creating Motibodo. With 2 young boys and a thriving and growing wedding photography business, it was many-a-sleepless night of literally 18hr work days to breathe life into it. While never a regret, the months and years poured into Motibodo development and promotion is time and energy spent. How did we make it through?
- Faith and
- Business x2
All the above allowed us to be ready to take on new opportunities when they presented themselves! People always ask us “How to do you balance it all?” Looking back, life (and my chemical balance!) has seldom been balanced. I think of life in more of seasons: Seasons of rest and crazy busy-ness. So I try to soak up the “now” more and more and ride out the waves when they get rough, knowing another season is coming. Plus it helps that Quin is the foundation of DQ Studios!! She allowed me to invest my time and energy in Motibodo.
Of course I’m still heavily involved in DQ Studios, but she’s the anchor of client interaction, post-processing and promotion. Without her, there would be no Motibodo! In the end, it all comes full circle and allows us to feed our continual need to do our OWN in-house post production :) We fill OUR need, which fills our USERS’ need. Additionally, being photographers keeps us connected to real and not imagined needs. It’s also what motivates us to continually upgrade our product. As software develops, we of course update Motibodo for compatibility. We also love all user input and seriously consider every suggestion for the evolution of it! Out of creating this product, the most important thing I’ve learned about myself is to remember that:
- Life is short.
- Live more.
- Sit in front of computer less (I’ve been typing this reply for the past hour on my walking treadmill hack to practice what I preach).
My only wish is that someone told me before I began developing this product that:
- Patents are expensive. – and likely aren’t worth the price and hassle.
- Don’t worry about the competition: invest your time in making yours the very best.
- Fail faster: it will get you to done.
Yup, could have done without learning the above on my own! That being said, for anyone else considering bringing a new product/invention to market, believing your idea has merit and marketing aren’t enough. Make sure there’s both before diving in head-first. If you’re still not scared, know that the doing is harder than dreaming – but so worth it. Also, while “diving”, don’t forget to support your business and sanity. Things that have worked for me are:
- Spending untethered time with my family (HIGHLY recommend turning off your phone’s email push and having a “no-gadget” policy at the dinner table).
- My Workouts and
It’s ridiculously hard not to marvel at the level of dedication, devotion and sheer determination that this team has for it’s businesses and family! If you’re like me, you are always looking to save time during your post processing workflow. So go ahead and check out this tutorial to see how Motibodo can save you up to 2 weeks off your editing time!
Then, once you’ve seen the light, head over to the Motibodo site at www.motibodo.com to purchase one of these amazing time-saving devices yourself! Please use coupon code CPC to save 10% on your purchase.Loving DQ as much as we do? Learn about more ways to simply and make your life easier by checking out Dave & Quin’s other endeavours at www.QuiKlips.com and you can also keep up with them on their personal blog:www.notsoancientchinesesecrets.com. It’s not a business blog, but a place where they can share stuff they’re passionate about: photography, gadgets, recipes, family etc.
Article by Esther Kelly.