passion

Yervant and Anie - The Photography Symposium 2016

“All good things must come to an end” and no better way to sum up the second day of Yervant and Anie’s Photography Symposium. This event rolled through Toronto as one of its many stops on June 15th, 16th and 17th.  I attended the event for 2 days and there was a master class on the third day which I opted out of.

It was an incredible experience and one I won’t soon forget. If you do get the chance to attend this event in your city, I strongly advise you do check it out, you won't be disappointed. Yervant and Anie put together an unbelievable program packed with a wealth of information, knowledge and not to mention an incredible line up of 6 industry professionals all experts in their particular area of photography. It took place at The Berkley Field House, a truly beautiful venue. It was geared at a smaller more intimate group of about 60-100 attendees which I feel was the perfect amount.

The two days were jam packed with information and personal stories and at times, astonishingly emotional and honest moments.  Yervant speaking about wedding photography and making us laugh hysterically.  Joe Buissink sharing his incredibly moving story of his childhood and why he is so passionate about wedding photography.  Sue Bryce sharing her brilliance on posing your subjects.  Michele Neal Celentano and her insistence on existing in your photographs because of her beautifully moving story.

There were a couple of common threads that were strung through these two days of presentations and stories. These recurring threads seemed to be:  if you work hard at your craft, you can achieve whatever it is you want for you and your business and you are worth it so charge your clients what you feel you are worth but keep in mind, you must deliver on that promise.

One thing in particular really struck a chord with me, the presenters kept re-iterating was with regards to printing your work.  Then I thought about it and we don’t print our work nearly as often as we should! You MUST print your work.  Preserve those moments in time through print as you never get a second chance to go back and relive those moments.  They are fleeting!

Remember, it’s not a photograph until it’s printed!  This statement really reverberated me and reminded me just how important it is for us photographers to print our work. Not only are you helping yourself but you are also helping to preserve our industry.

The Film Days - Moments Coming To Life

Never in a million years did I think this one class I was going to take would change my life.  Wait, not only my life but change the way I saw things and open my eyes up to a totally different world!

It was grade 10 photography class at Victoria Park High School and I remember it like it was yesterday.    I was bitten by the photography bug and have been addicted ever since. My uncle gave me my first film camera, a Konica Minolta and I loved that thing. Photography for me has always been such an incredibly fun, creative way to communicate MY visions.  Allowing people into my world, to view things through my lens, my eyes.

Walking into that darkroom for the first time, the darkness, the red light and of course that unforgettable smell of developer, stop bath and fixer all mixed in together. Overwhelming at first but you get used to it and learn to like the distinctive smell that fills the darkroom.  One of the toughest parts was fumbling around in the dark, no pun intended.  Then getting the film out of the camera and onto the spool and into the developing tank. Once I got the hang of that, it was smooth sailing and good times all around.

It was a bit of a steep learning curve both with the camera and in the darkroom but I enjoyed every minute of it and I think I am a better photographer for it. Having learned the craft before the digital revolution exploded on the scene has made me a better photographer.  I see things differently, I shoot differently and I actually think about the shot before I take it.

Making test strips to get the right exposure for your image, dodging and burning the real way, not in a digital computer program. Then, the piece de resistance, seeing what you shot in camera literally come to life on that piece of photography paper right before your very eyes.  That my friends is magic! The whole darkroom process is just an incredible experience from start to finish. I am so glad I was able to experience that for a few years in high school.  Sometimes I really do miss and long for those days.

Giving Back To The Community - Everybody Wins

As a business owner, giving back to your community is such an integral part of who we are and who we should be as entrepreneurs. It’s almost as though there should be an unwritten rule about giving back in the entrepreneur handbook (of course there is no such book). Although, I believe it really shouldn’t be “unwritten” and there really should be a handbook or guide of do’s and don’ts but that’s a whole other topic.
A couple of nights ago I had the esteemed pleasure of attending an incredible event. The event was put on by a woman named Katia Millar, a woman to whom I was informally introduced by a mutual friend a few months ago. She started a meet up group called Positive Fabulous Women in 2008 and let me tell you, she is positive AND nothing short of fabulous. What this woman has done for thousands of women across the GTA and her community is astounding. Her network of female members, followers and fans is 8000 plus and continually growing. She organizes monthly events with guest speakers, live twitter chats and webinars for her members. These members donate door prizes from their business, whether it be tangible prizes or one on one mentoring sessions from their individual businesses.
These events are held with the purpose of women getting together to network, discuss their businesses, goals, aspirations and most importantly build each other up, support and empower one another. Not only are they members of this network but they all give back to the community in one way or another, whether it be through mentorship or simply what they do as entrepreneurs on a daily basis. It truly is inspiring to be in their presence.
As an attendee and being one of the only men in the entire room, I have to say it was a little intimidating but the experience was without a doubt, three of the most inspiring hours of my life. What an incredible experience, listening to some of these women share their stories of building their businesses from the ground up. Sharing their successes as well as some of their failures because we all know, without failure there is no success. It was truly a magical evening. If any of my female readers are thinking about going into business or may already be a seasoned entrepreneur, I highly recommend you go to one of the Positive Fabulous Women events, I can guarantee you will walk away filled with inspiration! It will be 3 of the most valuable hours of your career. I honestly wish I could attend these sessions but sadly they are restricted to women only.

I strongly encourage all business owners to donate their time to some community cause or event, it will leave you feeling fulfilled. I know for me personally donating my time as a photographer for the event the other night, it did exactly that for me and I will definitely be doing more of that in the future.
I would just like to say thank you to Katia Millar for allowing me to be part of and the brief glimpse into her incredible world that is Positive Fabulous Women.

Believing In You - Re-ignite Your Passion!

The other week I started down my new path in the form of my very first “official” mentoring session. Let me tell you, it was so much more than I had ever expected. I have always loved and been passionate about photography but deciding to get a mentor has taken this passion and love to another dimension/level.

After my first session I was on a complete high and wore a perma grin from the time the session ended that evening right through the next 24 hours. It was an incredible feeling of elation and excitement for all the possibilities that will come from this. It was next to impossible to contain myself, I felt as though I was going to spontaneously combust due to excitement. My head felt like it was going to explode or blow right off my shoulders because of all the information I was trying to retain, all the excitement and ideas. It could liken it to trying to stop a geyser from blowing into the air.

Now having a few sessions under my belt with my mentor I have adopted a completely new outlook on my business and getting it to the next level. I have also gained a new level of confidence in myself, my skills and abilities. I am now more convinced than ever, there is NO option for failure here. I am learning so much and yes it is most definitely overwhelming at times but not beyond manageable.

It’s a great feeling having a totally unbiased set of eyes and ears, someone who is also a professional in our chosen field of work, to bounce all your ideas off of and get honest feedback. Having a mentor that wants to see you succeed is an incredibly invaluable resource to have available. Like they say about a “good” “honest” mechanic, they are worth their weight in gold. Well I would have to say the same rule applies to mentors.

As my mentor said “it may take time, but I promise you the ride is incredible.” I know I have a ways to go yet and the road is going to be long but it’s all about the journey not the destination. I am so enthused and excited for all the possibilities, opportunities and knowledge which will be bestowed upon me. All I can do is embrace this new chapter in my life with an open mind and open arms.

Image courtesy of colouryourlife.net