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.

Testimonials - The People's Written Word

The other day I came across a question posted on social media, asking who uses client testimonials on their websites and why or why don’t you? The responses to this post were quite varied. It started me thinking, having just revamped my website and added a testimonials section to it. My previous site did not have a testimonials section but I had wanted one for quite some time.

I personally am pro testimonial. Now, I am strictly speaking from a photographer’s view point on this topic, of course this whole testimonial thing would work for a lot of different businesses. If a client takes the time to write a testimonial about the service or product you provided for them, why wouldn’t you post it up for others to read with the intent of bringing in additional business. It’s showcasing, in written word as opposed to visually, your work ethic, who you are as a business owner and your skill set. It shows potential clients that you and your work are appreciated and valued. It tells people what type of business you are running, how great you are to work with etc. and I think it’s a great idea to have feedback posted for others to read when they come to your site and are shopping around for a photographer.

I guess there are two sides to this coin though and these two sides beg the question: do testimonials work and serve their purpose? Basically testimonials are marketing, promotion and exposure for you and your business. When it comes down to it you and your talent are being put in the spotlight.

The other side of this, are the written words in your testimonials section of your website totally fabricated or complete bullshit? How is the client to know these statements are coming from actual people? Is there an ounce of truth to any of it?

Just some food for thought ad I would love to hear other people’s opinions on this topic! So what are your thoughts on the testimonial?


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It's OK To Turn Down Jobs - Knowing When To Say No

I was recently approached by someone that wanted to hire me for my photography services. Everything started out ok, you know the usual asking for pricing etc. I sent over my pricing sheet for a portrait shoot as requested and was immediately met with resistance. They started out saying the pricing was more than they wanted to pay and they could only squeeze a certain amount out of their budget.

I thought to myself, ok let me see what I can work out in order to help this person out. I have known the person for quite some time and decided I would do my best to be as accommodating as I possibly could. Without affecting my bottom line too much I would find a solution that would be mutually beneficial for us both.

Well much to my surprise, this person had a very different idea as to how things should be worked out, in fact quite a contrast from what I had in mind. I just couldn’t accommodate the request and feel morally right about the whole thing so I decided the best solution in this instance was to walk away from the entire situation.

I won’t need to go into details as to exactly what happened and the reasons as this is not the point, I just feel it is indeed ok to say NO to jobs and walk away. You have to go about it a certain way though. You could always offer up a reference for another photographer to do the job in the hope that you will be helpful with their need and you also potentially helped out another photographer. Always better to take the high road in these situations.

Not every client you come across will be “THE CLIENT” for you and your business. In the long run, distancing yourself from the torment of an unmanageable client far outweighs the monetary benefits of the job. Sometimes you just have to SAY NO!

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Second Chances - Missed Opportunities

I saw a quote a few months back and it really struck a chord with me due to my current state of mind and all that has been going on with me as of late. It went like this, “If you are lucky enough to get a second chance in life, don’t waste it”. This rang incredibly true for me because recently I have been a victim of my own laziness and excuses when it comes to working on my photography and getting my business to the next level.

This is not a very easy thing to admit to myself or to any of you, my readers, for that matter but I figured it’s time to man up and actually say it out loud or as I am doing, put it down on paper for others to see. Perhaps by my own admission this was the kick in the ass I needed to get things “moving and shaking” again for me.

You see I have some work on display at a venue and when I first put my work in there a few months back, both of the owners specifically stated if I am going to have my work on display at their place of business I must be present and make appearances in order to promote myself and my work. I have to let the patrons see me, “the artist” in the space. This way they can put a face to the images hanging on the walls.

My engagement at this venue was to be for a limited time only. I didn’t heed the warnings I was given by the owners during this time and much to my chagrin my phone never did end up ringing off the hook with customers wanting to purchase my pieces. When the month had ended those words of the owners rang in my ears and it prompted me to contact them again and ask for another opportunity to display my work in their place of business. As it would happen there was another artist booked in there for the following month but they gladly agreed to accommodate my request to show my work again for the month preceding the other artist’s stint.

After hanging my work for a “second” time, I decided to show my face around the place a few times, mingle and speak with the patrons and speak about my art. This second chance I was given happened to get me 2 clients who ended up purchasing some of my artwork.

I would just like to tell you “second chances” don’t come along often but when they do, you had better be ready to grab on and hold on to it for dear life because you never know when that will happen again.

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