wisdom

Affiliates Edition 1: Students

By tangentpath in affiliates business photography students wisdom

Hey Peeps,

I've written about affiliates before and how crucial I believe they are to today's business - whatever that may be.  But I want to go more in depth to specific groups that photographers can work with, how to work with them and what benefits arise for both parties because of such a relationship.

There are a few schools in my area and the other week I decided to select the one I graduated from(am I biased? meh, it was closest) and I had about an hour or so to speak with students working in a multimedia class of sorts, and we discussed the industry as a whole, from music to video and still imagery.

It was interesting to see how involved certain students were to their own personal crafts, the passion was almost tangible and it gave me a little jolt of excitement towards my love of photography.  We discussed the lack of a photography or multimedia club in the school, of which the idea got a resounding,"That would be awesome..."

I stated that there is nothing to stop any of those students from starting a multimedia club if they wanted to, which received a long moment of silence - I assume they had either never thought of that or they were a little apprehensive about starting a club on their own.

So now I am in talks to help with the starting of a multimedia club - now this may sound like an unattractive action to a lot of you,"Aren't you busy Mike?  Don't you have a business to run?  A wife and son at home?  When can you find the time?  Don't you have to make money?"

Answer to all: YES.

I AM busy.

I DO have a business to run.

I DO have a wife and son at home.

I DON'T know when I will find the time(I will cover this in a second).

I DO have to make money.

Let's remember, this is an affiliate relationship right?  So both sides get something out of it.

Let me elaborate on my answers from above.

I AM busy, with paperwork, edits, shoots, family, accounting, blogs, "me" time, etc - but I CAN schedule certain times of certain days to touch base with the club - remember, I am NOT the leader, founder or president.

Those positions are for the students.

My position is more that of a mentor, associate or councillor.  I have no set hours of work set in stone with this group, but I AM available as a resource.

I think that covered all the questions except for the money one and the resource part answers that.

I can offer advice, experience and knowledge.  All of which is practically free for these students.  I also offer rental of my studio for academic and personal projects for a fee. 

This creates an income stream that didn't exist before and increases visibility to my studio/business,

I'm going to be looking for some interns for some projects this year and this gives me a chance to get to know prospective students that could fit the bill, giving them hands on experience and co-op hours, decreasing my own workload and helping to increase my revenues.

Can you say WIN-WIN-WIN?

An affiliate relationship, no matter with students, businesses, other "competitors" or whatever, need to be treated as a symbiotic relationship.  Give and take.

Most of the time it costs you little or no time or money to make and keep them, but it grows your potential, your resources, your abilities, your support and your revenues by leaps and bounds.

So while things are building up at this first school, I'm starting to look at the next one.  Why not right?

Let me know what you think of education affiliations, does my approach make sense?  Are there other opportunities to utilize these relationships that you can think of?

I want to hear YOUR THOUGHTS!!  So send them!

And let me know which affiliate you want to learn about next!!

Laters,

Michael Carty
Michael Carty Photography
Michael Carty Email

Beauty Dish Test and Multi-Photog/Multi-Model Shoot!!

By tangentpath in beauty dish diy fun times group model personal photographer photography wisdom

Hey Peeps,

I really should have posted this earlier, but things have been up in the air - as usual.

I had a really great chance to work with a diverse bit of talent last month.  Great people in the industry like photographers Clifton Saulnier, Adam Graham, and Jodi Spicer-Outhouse; models Jessica Atwood, Jessica Matthews, Holly Richardson, Ashley Goodwin, Kaleigh Pitman, Spencer Robertson, Kirk Fougere; stylists Shawna Jackson from Shawna’s Hair Studios (in Sodalicious on Main St., Yarmouth) and Jill Goodwin from Styles Unlimited (on Starrs Rd, Yarmouth); MUA Jennie Surette from Afterglow Spa; clothing from Sharon and Laura from Making Memories Bridal and Tuxedo (Main St., Yarmouth) and the great guys at the MacKinnon Cann Inn, Michael Tavares and Neil Hisgen who let us use their business for location.

I want to first off thank Adam Graham for inviting me to the event and Clifton Saulnier for assisting me with the gear to pull off my first test of my homeade beauty dish.

It went fantastic.

We had a number of models to work with, and a great selection of wardrobe, but a limited amount of time to capture everything.  So I was only able to shoot with 5 different models between the two VERY LARGE homes, and I only used 3 rooms I believe - but that's all I really needed.

Spencer, Kaleigh, Ashley, Jessica M. and Jessica A. were fantastic models.  They followed direction easily and understood what I was going for in all of my shots.  The wardrobe, hair and make up was done perfectly(Gods bless the MUAs/Stylists) and I had a great feeling the whole time.  Anything was available to us.  Our imaginations were the only obstacles we had - although it was cold.

VERY cold.

I wouldn't be surprised if some people got sick shortly after this shoot.

Luckily, I brought two space heaters to one of the houses, setting one up directly next to where I was posing my models(hey, it's my heater, I can do what I want lol).

Let's take a look!

Spencer looking suave
How can you resist him?

Loved the colors, and how Ashley's rose-like dress compliments the rosed wallpaper


Jessica A's expression is so open and honest, love those eyes!

Here Jessica M's great skintone is so flawless - like butter and her blue eyes go so well with the backdrop!

Jessica M is showing us a more sultry side of her

Did someone say sultry?  Kaleigh is definitely working the sultry wagon here
I think that everyone involved is in agreement to keep this an ongoing thing in the future.  I'm planning on my next trip to Yarmouth to formally give my models copies of our work and talk some shop with my fellow photogs over some good food.

Next week you will see a special blog post of Adam and my coverage of the BMO Hockey Heroes Weekend 2012.  It is going to be a blast!!

But until next time let me know what you think of my first DIY Beauty Dish test, was it a success?

ANSWER: YES.  EMPHATIC YES.

Anywho, more posts coming soon!

Laters,

Michael Carty
Michael Carty Photography Website
Michael Carty Email



Nose To The Grindstone vs. Leaving It The F@#$ Alone

By tangentpath in business live photography quit spend time vision wisdom work

Hey Peeps,

I have a feeling that this may be a little controversial to discuss, but I have experienced it firsthand and find it incredibly fascinating, and first needs to be illustrated by a story from my past.

Years ago, in my misspent early 20's, I actually tried to grow a houseplant.  Buy a pot, soil, some Miracle-Gro, simple right?

NOPE.

I planted six different seeds, kept it watered and by the window, but the soil stayed as barren as a models bikini line.

So being a guy, I instantly forgot about the pot and soil - therefore, I left it sitting by the windowsill to collect dust.

Sometime, in the next few weeks, a few friends and I decided that it was the perfect night for tequila shots with salt/lemon slices(when isn't it?).  The rest of the evening resides in obscured memory and blackmailing photos that will be automatically released to the media at the time of my death.

That's a joke.

Or is it?  You'll see when I croak.

Anywho, a few days later, something the color of vibrant green caught my eye from the windowsill.  

It was a plant sprouting from my pot!!  Finally!  I was growing a houseplant!

But wait, what's that at the base of the sapling? 

Two halves of a lemon seed shell.

...

Do you get it?

One of our tequila lemon seeds was spit serendipitously(did I just create this word?) into the potted soil.  Left alone, it sprouted by itself.

NO tending.  NO watering.  NO ME.

:(  I am Michael's popped bubble of self-gratification.

That's where the lesson began - but let me be clear:

I truly believe that effort is needed to get things done. 

At least a little.

But there comes a time to back the "f" up and let the situation work itself out - there is only so much you can do before you start to bring harm to your project.

So with the plant growing, I suck.

I know the logistics:  soil, water, sun - but that's where I should stop.  

Me personally.  

Other people can go further than I.  I think they're called farmers, gardeners, botanists, etc.

I am not one of them.

The same works in everything you do.  

Work yourself to death at your passions, but in the end you will find yourself spinning your wheels and then - the horror of it! - starting to wonder why you loved your passion in the first place!  OR - the humanity!! - start to hate your passion!!

*Shiver!* 

Step back.  Know when to stop, for you, personally.

I've had those moments myself.

Late nights, editing image after image until they all start to blend together in my coffee-fueled, sleep-deprived stupor.

I don't want to die that way.

I don't want to hate my passion, my work, my life.

I step back.

I still have to remind myself of this.  The traditional order of things is that the effort put in equals the effort coming out, but that is irrelevant now in our world - actually I believe it was never relevant in the first place.  

It's not the amount of effort - but the quality of effort.

Work smarter - not harder.

I sometimes sit day after day in front of my laptop, corresponding to clients, writing blog posts, brainstorming projects, talking to affiliates, cataloging data from my mileage to my HST.  

I FEEL like I'm wasting time, and in a way I am(plans are in work to change this).

I WORRY that I won't get work, clients don't just drop out of the sky right?

But if I leave my laptop for an afternoon, for some reason when I return to it I have at least one message from a lead, past client or product order.  

Maybe it's the perspective, maybe being plugged in skews the incoming traffic because it isn't constant, but whatever it is, it feels better when I step back.  When I spend time away from the grindstone and LIVE for a few hours.  When I come back with rested eyes and settled mind.

So that's my message to you:  Work hard at your passions - until it starts to feel like your working hard.  Then back off for a bit.

If your passion feels like work, you're doing too much.

Am I full of shit?  Tell me where I've gone wrong BRAINIAC!!

Laters,

Michael Carty

Michael Carty Photography Email

The True Costs of Your Options

By tangentpath in business clients customer service photography vision wisdom

Hey Peeps,

Sometimes we think we know what's best for our clients, our businesses and ourselves.

What is fast, cheap, efficient is always searched for, but sometimes the most obvious options aren't that obvious.  Sometimes what we think is fast is actually inefficient, and what is cheap will often cost us a lot in the long run.

I had a client that loved their images.  The prints arrived, but when we went over them not everything was what it seemed.  The images online showed everyone in perfect clarity, the printed version however showed a lack of sharpness on some people, while others were fine.

And when I say "lack of sharpness" - I actually cringe at the memory of reviewing those images that should have been a great experience between my client and I.

So who's to blame?

Answer: ME.

It is me.  No excuses and I give none either.

I knew exactly what happened - my depth of field was too narrow for the subject matter I was capturing.

Now you photo-enthusiasts out there understand what I just said, but most of my clients don't - and even if they did, they shouldn't care what went wrong.

All they need to care about is getting the quality product that they spent their hard-earned cash on, right?

Answer: Right.

I don't need to explain the technical issues to my client, all I need to do is tell them exactly what they want and need to hear and what I am going to do.

So what am I going to do?
Like some photogs that are hard-assed business types but lack the tact that comes with basic human interaction, I could have looked at only the financial side of things, or only the time management side and said nothing and let the client keep the awful, awful representation of my work.  Or I could have really insulted them and asked if they wanted a reshoot - for a fee. 

What?!

Wait, didn't they just pay me for these images already?  

That's right, some photogs do this.  I find it so backward, blind and suicidal to their business and not-to-mention - quite a dickish thing to do to anyone.

But no, instead my instincts kicked in immediately.

We will reshoot any selected image that does not meet theirs or my expectations.  And the added fee?  What added fee!?!? 

Answer: This is my mistake - so it is my dime.

See?  Evolution is real.

We went through them all.  Some images the clients picked out, some others I picked out.  We set a date for the reshoot and I went immediately to my studio for testing.

What?  Testing?  For what?

Answer: To eliminate the DOF issue from the coming reshoot and for all future shoots in the future.

See what I did there?

Let's recap in case you missed it.
If I were to brush off the client, many things would happen:

  • I would be a dick
  • My client would think I'm a dick(and rightly so)
  • I would save a piddly amount of money and time from having to reshoot and reorder out-of-pocket
  • This would eliminate repeat business from the client
  • The technical issue wouldn't be resolved and therefore would repeat in future shoots
  • I wouldn't grow as a photographer or a business owner
  • My business would grow a horrible reputation and fail
But instead, if I give my client a 100% guarantee on the product(my photography), and what happens instead?

  • I wouldn't be a dick
  • My client wouldn't think I'm a dick(YAY!)
  • My client is 100% happy with their shoot, prints, service - everything
  • My client is sure to repeat business with me
  • My clients positive opinion of the experience would spread to their friends/family - therefore supplying me with free, positive testimonials/business
  • The technical issue is resolved from the present and future shoots
  • I grow as a photographer and a business owner
  • My business grows a terrific reputation and succeeds
  • Technical issues drop and therefore reshoots do as well
Now I know you're thinking,(in a whiny voice)"But Michael, if you kept doing this, you wouldn't make any money!  You would have to keep footing the bill and your business would fail!"

Answer: NOOOOOOOOO.

Look, what was the last thing listed above?

Answer: "Technical issues drop and therefore reshoots do as well."

So as I go - I grow.

I take care of my clients by taking care of my photography, my style, my technical ability, my business.  

As I eliminate the issues that pop up, the number of them occurring drops.  

My clients are happier and bring me more business.  I save more time, do a better job, get better in my art, my costs of time and money drop and I have time to do the things and projects that I want to do - which is what we all want, right?

So which faster, cheaper and efficient route would you go?

Fast, cheap and efficient short term?  Or fast, cheap and efficient long term?

What are your "true costs of your options" stories?  I want to hear them!

Laters,

Michael Carty





Michael Carty Email

My First Bridal Show

By tangentpath in bridal show business fun times networking photography wisdom

Hey Peeps,

This month, I attended my first bridal show as a vendor.  It was interesting to say the least.

It was the 3rd Annual Southern Nova Scotia Bridal and Prom Show in Yarmouth, NS.  Held by Enaira Marketing and put together by the gracious Ariane Anderson of Designs by Ariane, my wife and I had a great time.

I've realized that shows like this aren't designed for getting clients instantly.  Everyone attending was doing their homework, collecting information to be reviewed later in deciding if they want services from anyone there.

Not only that, but we vendors are doing our own homework.  

Testing what works, what doesn't.  Collecting information on other vendors set ups that seem successful and warmly welcomed by potential clients.

We also make new friends and affiliates to network with and support each other in our businesses.

Here was our set up

that's my wife in the center, we already have design changes for next show

nice professional samples/cards using my own work

slideshow and trusty cell phone

nice sized canvas on classic black aisle of my own work displayed


 After lunch there was a fashion show with wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses and prom dresses


















It was definitely a good experience to have and now a bunch of us photogs are meeting up in March to do an on location shoot with some models, MUA's and stylists - I can't wait.

Laters,

Michael Carty
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