WPPI, Changes and Gooberness
Yes I said it. Gooberness. Is that a word? Well it’s now my word if it isn’t. I personally trademark myself as a goober. But I’m ok with that. I pride myself in being a goober. I’ll tell you why in a minute.
This last week Adam and I took a trip to the land of sin, stars and feathers. Yep, you called it Las Vegas. However those three words would not describe the experience we left with. Adam and I went to Vegas to go to WPPI; a convention and trade show for professional wedding and portrait photographers international. It’s a place for us to gather, learn and drain our bank accounts for some really awesome new equipment. Boy did I want everything, luckily I have Adam to bring me back down to earth and remind me that I have a bunny at home to feed. I did leave with some pretty cool stuff. Amazing new friends, knowledge and meeting Jasmine star and Bambi Cantrell were some pretty cool things to leave with too I might add.
I left with inspiration for my business to help us grow not just as photographers but as business owners. Because that’s what I’m running, a successful professional photography business. I love taking beautiful photos. I love the feeling I get when I take a stunning shot for someone to have as a keepsake for the rest of their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren. It’s more then a photo, it’s a memory. My job is to create memories in a fashionable and stylized way. But without knowing how to run a business correctly and adequately I wouldn’t be able to produce an amazing service and experience for my couples that lasted much longer than just when they receive the photos.
Some of the things that stuck to me from my classes at WPPI were that changes are necessary for a successful business. Keeping it fresh. Adding new things all the time. If everything stays the same it gets boring, but not just that, your business won’t grow or expand. Changes are necessary. Speaking of changes Adam and I are in the midst of adding some changes to our business. We are adding some pretty cool stuff. I cant tell you yet. It’s still in the beginning process of having it added in but it’s big and its great and I cant wait to tell you! One thing I can tell you is we found our albums!! Finally! It took forever but the trade show had every possible album company that works directly with professional photographers available to look at hands on. We found it and I am designing one to show all of my past present and future couples of what they can get. Once its all done I will let every one know. Very exciting and it’s very classy.
Taking charge is one thing I already do but was very much emphasized. I’m the art director when It comes to the photos. People hire me because they want amazing photos that they can not produce themselves. They hire me because they like my photography and want it for them. If I don’t step in and take control of the visual aspect, whether it’s with the posing, lighting situations or the way the decorations are set up for photographs, then my couples will not get what they hired me for. I refuse to be a fly on the wall. That’s not my style. If that’s the type of photography someone wants, then I’m not the right photographer for them. I step in, take control and make sure that the visual aspect will turn out the way I want it too, the way I see it, because again that is why my couples hire me. They like my work, my eye and the way I see things from a photographers stand point. That means if I need to have something moved to get a visually stunning shot of it then it will be moved. Because again I will stress this, My couples hire me to get great shots. I need to produce that for them and styling is everything for great shots. Cake or not, if it needs to be moved to get that shot….I’ll let someone know. lol. I’m not moving a cake by myself. But you get the picture.
Dedication and sacrifice. No one becomes the top photographer in the nation over night. It takes years. It takes a lot of time, money and sacrifices on your end to be successful. Time. I can not tell you how long I sit at my computer. From emails, editing, studying, blogging, networking. Time in practice, practice, practice. Money. It takes money to have a business. My couples do not hire me because I am the hobbiest with the kit lens who likes to take photos. Investing tens of thousands of dollars in equipment to be able to give my couples and clients the type of quality and service I provide was a must for me and my business. It was a sacrifice I had to make. It was scary. Dropping 15 thousand dollars into equipment in a short period of time is frightening, that’s a huge chunk of money. But my clients pay a lot of money for me to give them great memories and I wouldn’t let them expect anything less then top quality gear and knowledge from a photographer who knows how to use it. It doesn’t stop at 15 grand for camera gear. The costs go on, you need high efficiency computers, professional editing software, back up hard drives, marketing tools, the list goes on. Spending a lot of money on equipment isn’t gonna make someone a great photographer either though, it goes beyond that. Being able to make personal connections with people. Really caring about what you do for them and really caring about them is what makes a good photographer a great photographer. I’ve heard this one photographer say I don’t care about my couples, I don’t want to know them, TMI I just want to take their picture…. I thought to myself how the hell are you going to truly get them to be themselves in your photos. If there is no personal connection , there is no trust. If there is no trust , they wont feel comfortable showcasing their true personality in front of your camera. If they do not showcase their personality then the photo is not of them, it’s of their body yes, but not of THEM. That’s what really makes a great photo. That’s what makes them fall in love with the photo when they see it. That’s what makes Grandma and Grandpa want to buy that photo, it’s because they see the person they know, the one they love in an amazing visually appealing shot that still showcases their personalities. It also becomes more than just a photo session it becomes an experience. That takes dedication.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do pose when the time is necessary. But I get to know my clients so I know what types of poses will work for them. I listen to my bride talk and watch how she acts in her dress so I can tell what I can do with her. If she’s very scared of letting it touch anything and getting the slightest bit of dirt on the dress then I’m gonna know that my bride will not want to go lay down in that flower field outside for shots. If I pay attention to their personality’s, talk to them and truly get to know them I will know what type of poses and shots I can get them to do. Again, that incorporates their personalities. If they are bubbly the photos will show this. If they are more reserved the poses and type of shots will be more reserved and calm.
This brings me to my gooberness. While I was at the Bambi Cantrell class for learning how to incorporate lighting and posing together I met these two lovely ladies who are photographers in Utah and Alabama. All three of us happened to be sitting in the first row of the class when Bambi called us up to help demonstrate some posing techniques you can do during the bridal party sessions. Adam was ever so brilliant as to use our Ipad to record it. OMG. Ok I was not in my most adorable outfit to be on stage in front of a class of 1000 photographers. I had woken up at 6 am and was running on 3 hours of sleep. I can say that was an every day thing. So my outfit and hair is well …ewwww.. lol.. Don’t judge me!!! You can see in the vid I was the first one to run off the stage when she said we were done, I said Peace! But WHHAATT?? When I heard a gift was being given my 5 foot little embarrassed self waltzes right back up on that stage .. I like gifts =)