Wharf Rat Rally 2012: My First Vending Experience

By tangentpath in motorcycle wharf rat rally photography fun times

Hey Peeps,

I don't know if a lot of you have ever been a vendor for an event like the Wharf Rat Rally, you know, sell cotton candy or popcorn or samurai swords.  

It may not sound very glamorous, probably because it's not.

It's hot and muggy, the air is filled with engine exhaust and noise of all sorts and the hours are long.

It was one of the most crucial learning experiences I have ever had and I can't wait to do it again next year.

The first challenge was to find a way to incorporate my photography into the rally in such a way that my product was quick to produce and purchase but also unique in such a way that it would draw more clients.

HDR.  High Dynamic Range.

You have all seen HDR images before, even if you didn't know what it was called.

Basically several images are shot of a subject at different exposure levels and through the power of science and creativity, blended into a single image that incorporates all of the details from the originals.

This is one that I shot for a prize in the Rally Races for Timothée Richard of Bobber Boyz/Mad Squirrel:

We were set up with the bay and wharf as our backdrop.

I was lucky enough to get a few family members and their friends to come out a few weeks before and use their bikes as examples that I could show clients.

I had found after a while that I had lost sight of the underlying reason why I was vending this year.

Not money, no that helps but wasn't my true reason - my "why".

My "why" in my business is a reflection of what photography does for me personally, it gives me a sense of freedom in my life and I needed to instill that into my booth and how it interacted with the public.

Once I had lost sight of that, I realized that I was stressing over sales and money so that I could get to relax and enjoy myself.

That was sooooo backwards.

I told my friend and fellow photographer Kitrin Jeffrey, who was assisting me with this vending process day-in and day-out, that I needed to think more like a photographer, more of my "why", my freedom, my reason for everything.

I said,"What would someone like Chase Jarvis(whom I consider one of the Patron Saints of Photography) do in a situation like this?  Would he constantly be going over processes like how to greet a client?  How to overcome objections?  How to do a million different things a million different ways?  No, we did all of this when we planned this event.  That work is done.  Chase Jarvis wouldn't worry about the business at this point, he would focus on the moment at hand.  He would enjoy the day, the bikes, the rally itself and then the business would thrive.  I really need a ring or bracelet that says 'WWCJD?'."

And that's when it happened.

I took my camera out of its bag and started shooting "Random WRR Bike Encounters".  I would post them on FB and have fun doing it too!  My mind wasn't stuck in the administration department while the festivities were going all around me - I was a part of the fun!!

The side-effect?

  • We started getting sales.
  • Numbers on my FB Fanpage soared.
  • Strangers that have never heard of me would tell me that they recognized me and my work from these randoms.
  • I got a gleaming spot on the local radio station that sounded like a client testimonial.
  • I stopped stressing and had fun.
That last one isn't quantifiable, but believe me, it is something you can totally feel.

I learned a tonne, worked my ass off, met a lot of people and am more than prepared for next year's partying - scheduling appointments in February. :D

Here are a few randoms for ya.  Click for bigger shots.  Enjoy!


Michael Carty

Michael Carty Website
Michael Carty Email

New Model: Alex McBride

By tangentpath in model photography alex mcbride fun times

Hey Peeps,

So the other day I had the great fortune of shooting with someone that I think could really make a name for herself in the industry: Alex McBride.

She's young, funny, talented and smart.  A great combination to have when trying to survive and thrive in any business.  Especially since her interest is on the other side of the camera, yes, she likes to shoot photography too.

She had a few different outfits to change through and we came up with some great work - if I do say so myself.

Check it:

I had such a fun time shooting this session, I can't wait for the next one.

Michael Carty

Michael Carty Website
Michael Carty Email

Beth+Alex aka: The Frenchys Wedding

By tangentpath in wedding photography fun times beth and alex frenchy's

Hey Peeps,

I know most of you won't know what I'm talking about since this is worldwide and all, but those of you from the Maritimes, and even those of you who have visited, know of the second-hand clothing store called Guy's Frenchys.

You may have even seen something about it on the news, in the newspapers, on Facebook, etc etc etc.

The reason that is is because a great couple, Beth and Alex, had planned their wedding there.  It wasn't on purpose at first.  In the beginning, they were only shopping there for a few things for the event.

Then it started to roll.

Eventually everything from the groomsmens suits to the brides dress and flowers were all purchase at - you guessed it:  Frenchys.

So the next step was to ask Guy Frenchy himself for his blessing in conducting the event in his store located in our hometown of Digby.

Guy was exstatic.

Bins were moved, decorations were put up and advertisements were placed in every Frenchys store in the Maritimes advertising the first wedding ever performed in the business's history.

Now I had a great view as things developed over these several months.  Not just because I was the photographer covering the event, but because I have known Alex for years.

Just want to say, Beth and Alex are perfect for each other.  They are exactly as in love with one another and believe in that love in real life as you see them during an interview.

So without further ado, and to prevent regaling you on my later-night karaoke skills that evening, I give you:  Beth+Alex.

 Thank you Beth and Alex for letting me be a part of your beautiful day, and may you have a long and loving marriage.


Michael Carty

Michael Carty Website
Michael Carty Email

Labs, Prints & Products: Q&A with Allen Sutherland of Atlantic Photo Supply

By tangentpath in photography halifax atlantic photo supply allen sutherland interviews

Hey Peeps,

I think one of the most important things - and the most overlooked, in photography has to do with labs.

Most new photographers stick with giving/selling their digital images and leave a lot of cash, customer service and free marketing on the table.

I had the great fortune of asking Allen Sutherland of Atlantic Photo Supply a few questions from his point of view on the importance of labs in today's digitized age.


Michael: How important are physical prints/products in a photography business?
Allen: In the digital age, prints are still something physical and tangible that stand visible through time.  Prints and products can be considered a value add to the Artist,always there for their client to see. The Photographer - to be successful, should be like any business; always willing to add new products to their wagon. The saying goes, you can't sell with a empty wagon. 
Michael:What sets APS apart from other labs?
Allen: I think the big thing that sets APS apart is the dedication of the staff. I often look at the way they try to resolve problems. Like any human, they are capable of making mistakes. The difference with my coworkers is that they learn from that and often put procedures in place to try and prevent it from happening again.  We have the same equipment as many labs, but a whole set of different procedures that help keep the quality and service high. 
Michael: What would you say contributes to the success of APS when other vendors have slipped away?
Allen:  I hate to repeat myself, but the success of APS has a lot to do with the last question. On top of our people, we also practice strict accounting and purchasing principals. Buying smart and growing at a pace that keeps the bottom line in the black instead of the red.  Being involved with the community at large is important as well.  Just because you have been in business since 1942 does not give you the right to ignore how you survived.

Michael: What should a photographer initially look for in a lab?
Allen: I think quality service first. Then I would also look at the products they offer.  Price would be my last choice.
Michael: What are the majority of problems that photographers bring to you to solve?
Allen: The biggest problems go straight to color management.  A lot of people have difficulty getting files to look the same on their monitor as they do in print.  My job is often to look deeper into their workflow to try and resolve those issues.
Michael: Do you find the photographers who utilize printing services gain more work and success than ones who exclusively use digital means?
Allen: I think the true success of any photographer is how well he markets his talent.  Many artists are very creative but poor on the marketing and fiscal discipline side.  Prints are part of a product offering.  How you weave them into your business plan will determine the success.  Like any business, you get back what you put into it.
Michael: You have recently moved locations last month, can you tell me a little bit about that and how this will effect the photography community?
Allen: We are almost complete in our move. Our new store on Brownlow in Dartmouth will open September 10th. The big thing about the expansion for the lab is more efficiency, Everything on one floor, instead of 2 and 1/2. All departments from front to back have a better work space and better climate control.  Having a more efficient lab helps with service and quality.  Having two locations helps to serve our community better from a physical perspective.  A lot of our out of town clients don't have to fight traffic to get to our Dartmouth store.  We are able to have more inventory because we have more storage.  New products and services.  Someone has to keep Henry's in check.
Michael: Is there any pertinent knowledge you believe photographers should be aware of regarding prints, labs, etc?
Allen: I say to everyone new and old in the business: take time to understand the basic concepts of photography.  The golden triangle, so to speak.  Once you conquered that then work with your lab on the color side of things.  Build a relationship.  Take time to get to know them.  Do your home work.  Take a course and go to seminars.

I'd like to thank Allen for his unique insight into the industry in this interview.  You can check out their website here:

Sorry it has been a while, busy things going on but that just makes more material to get right?


Michael Carty


My Run-In With Backroads

By tangentpath in photography backroads fun times interviews bikers canon 5d mkiii

Hey Peeps,

It has been quite busy this past week and continues to be in the coming one, I was scouting out the Bear River Vineyard, photos below:

I noticed a van and a load of bicyclers at the vineyard.  The van was labelled,"Backroads: The Worlds #1 Active Travel Company".  

Needless to say, I was intrigued.

I'm a runner at heart but I got a sense that bicycling was similar in the nature of comraderie and non-competitiveness.

I grabbed my camera and started shooting while asking a few of these nice people about Backroads and bicycling in general.  They told me that they were from all over, Toronto, Pensilvania, Oklahoma just to name a few.  They were also different groups, some married, some single, some friends, some parents and adult children.  It was impressive and uplifting to see so many different people from different walks of life come together in an activity that was both beneficial to their health and connected a variety of minds.

Gary and I hit it off right away.  He is a photography enthusiast and carries his Canon 5D MkIII - yes, the MkIII - and a 28-300mm lens with him as he rides.  I offered to give him my cam and everything in my gear bag for it, but Gary is a smart man, and refused my offer. :(  Next time Gary, next time.

The Canon 5D MkIII/28-300mm... oh, and Gary lol
Amy and Eric are husband and wife.  They are a sweet couple who seem to have a real partner/team atmosphere about them which can only enhance their cycling and their marriage.

Eric & Amy

Among other things, they told me that this is the 4th of their 6 day ride through Nova Scotia, which started in Halifax, NS.  That they all enjoy the different scenes of beauty, cultures, foods and friendships they encounter and make while on their trek.

It all sounded so similar to running to me - but with wheels, and much farther(for the most part), I realized that it was the social activity in general that brought out all of the goodness in these people and not just the specific activity itself.

Well their trip has been over for a few days now and most are back home, off on another ride or relaxing on the rest of their vacations.  

I hope to see them again next year.  

Especially Gary.  

With his Canon.  *DROOL*


Michael Carty

Michael Carty Website
Michael Carty Email